Looking for a little insight on the the depth of the Wild blueline... Who are to be considered your TOP defensemen? Is Schultz developing into anything? Will he run the PP? Will he score points? Any predictions for him for the upcoming year if we have one..
Filip Kuba - Big guy, logs the most minutes. Plays a good positional game and has an exceptional shot from the blueline. Kind of a "go with the flow" type but can throw his weight around a little bit, just enough to tease. No. 1 guy by default.
Willie Mitchell - The glue that holds it all together. Stay at home guy. Not particularilly big, but has tons of heart. Good passer and great along the boards. The only real shut-down d-man we have. Future captain.
Nick Schultz - The prize of the pack. Has shown signs of a great two-way game. Not afraid to mix it up along the boards, despite average size. Seems to play with alot of heart, like Mitchell, and has already exceeded expectations. Many say a future powerplay QB, although a see a better all around game. Has the skills to do it all. Future All-Star.
Andrei Zyuzin - The enigma. Good size, good wheels, good shot...the prototype offensive defensemen. Never lived up to his high draft position. Seems to be a pretty emotional guy. His highs are pretty high and his lows keep reaching new depths. Fully capable of scoring 3 pts one night and commiting 3 nasty turnovers and putting up a -3 the next. If he could get it together for a full season, 40-50 pts is not out of reach. Short leash next season IMO.
Alex Henry - Big surprise...real big. Plays a very physical game, sometimes out of control, but possesses the combination of grit and size that we desperately need. Zero offensive ability, but can cause problems in front opposing goals. Has been around the block, but with d-men at a premium, will be retained. Solid third pairing guy.
Zbynek Michalek - Another pleasant surprise. Played pretty poised as a mid-season callup. Didn't turn the puck over as much as most would in his situation. Showed signs of a sound overall game. He is the type of guy that won't show up on the score sheet, but will impact the game just as much with smart play. Could be a diamond in the rough.
Brent Burns - Incomplete...who knows where he'll end up. Drafted as a forward and moved to defense to plug the whole Kuba left with his late-season injury. Sounded like JL and DR like what they saw, giving him a "vote of confidence" stating the blueline is where he'll be. Size, skill, grit...everything you want in a d-man. Like I said, who knows?
Reallistically, we are probably 4 deep with legitimate NHL d-men, with 3-4 solid guys scratching at the surface. Like what TSK says, definitely better on ice, than on paper. Overall, better than most IMO.
As far as a Schultz prediction: Break through year...20+pts
Jean- Michal Bolduc : Big guy at 6'4", but needs to fill out as he is only 200 lbs. Really picked up his game in Oceanic after being traded. Had coach problems, which made his stock fall during the draft. Posted good numbers at Oceanic with 8 goals, 42 assists and 133 PIMs. Will be very interested to see where Bolduc goes from here because with his size, he could become a good top 4 defenseman.
Chris Heid : Disappointment is probably a good fit with Heid. Once touted as a possible top 4 defenseman, he has a long ways to go before really sniffing the NHL. While the coach in Houston rarely lets any rookie defenseman log a lot of time, Fortunus got the nod over Heid a couple of times. Will definitely need to pick up his game next year or else he could end up like Nycholat.
Michael Shutte : Umm not much on this guy but he is I believe suppose to be a filler. Won't return next year probably.
Eric Reitz : Plays a similiar type of game to Mitchell. Will bang the body and fight but not much offensive upside. Will log more PIMs than anything. Depth at best. Is a bit undersize but I can see him making it.
Georgi Misharin : A good way to describe this guy is a pest. Will be interested to see how he develops too, if he develops into the pest he is for the Spirits. Could end up making a great compliment defenseman. Played well for the Russians last year during the WJC.
Travis Roche : Riser can't wait to dump him which is kind of bad since Roche is a great AHL defenseman and maybe could pick up his game...well somewhere else. He might become a Wild killer.
Mikhail Tyulyapkin : Yeah this guy...what do we do with him? He's young but how good is he is a very good question.