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Old
06-15-2012, 03:15 PM
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Minnesota Wild 2012 draft preview

 

The Minnesota Wild finished with a 35-36-11 record in 2011-12, well out of reach of the eighth and final playoff berth. Like in years past, the team struggled to produce goals at the NHL level and experienced various injuries to key players.



Top 10 Prospects:

1. Mikael Granlund, C
2. Charlie Coyle, C/W
3. Jonas Brodin, D
4. Matt Hackett, G
5. Zack Phillips, C
6. Jason Zucker, LW
7. Johan Larsson, LW
8. Brett Bulmer, RW
9. Mario Lucia, LW
10. Cody Almond, C

Team Needs

The Wild's biggest need currently is more defensive depth.… read more



More...

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06-16-2012, 04:32 AM
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I'd put Larsson over Zucker because he has been tested a lot more, and isn't Larsson a center?

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06-16-2012, 04:34 AM
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Surprised this didn't get posted sooner considering I read this article yesterday morning.

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06-16-2012, 05:27 AM
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I'd put Larsson above Zucker as well, and I wouldn't list Almond at all. He's not an NHL player IMO.

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06-16-2012, 12:01 PM
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I'd put Larsson over Zucker because he has been tested a lot more, and isn't Larsson a center?
HF has always listed both Larsson and Coyle as wings (while it seems most likely for them to make the NHL as centers) but both Phillips and Granlund as centers (while it seems likely one or both will make the NHL as wingers).

Edit: HF still doesn't even list Seeler, Michalek, or Graovac on our prospect lists. Apparently the 2011 draft ended after the second round?


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06-16-2012, 12:12 PM
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I'd put Larsson over Zucker because he has been tested a lot more, and isn't Larsson a center?
It might have to do with the fact that Zucker has played NHL games, albeit only a couple, but he didn't look out of place for a guy who just got done playing college hockey. Whereas Larsson hasn't played any pro games in North America. Just a guess on my part.

Then again Larsson in in front of Bulmer.

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06-16-2012, 05:23 PM
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Dismiss Zucker at your own risk - the guy kicked ass as a true freshman, and captained the USA to gold medals. I think he is a pretty special prospect.

But, so is Larsson

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06-16-2012, 05:30 PM
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I think collectively the posters on the Wild board are overly high on Larsson. I have confidence in his ability to make it in the NHL, but so many people here are willing to gift him a 2nd or 3rd line spot on the team and won't hear any discussion to the contrary. He did earn a spot on Sweden's WC team, but it was basically the last spot on the roster and it's not like he beat out a bunch of NHLers to get there. He certainly wasn't receiving the praise that Brodin did.

Zucker absolutely should be ranked higher than him. I'd also argue that Bulmer probably should be as well. Bulmer showed he can handle the NHL game (even if he didn't absolutely blow anyone away) then went back to Kelowna and showed he absolutely can put the puck in the net as well. In fact of the three, I think I'd rank Bulmer first and Larsson last right now. We'll see how Larsson does in North America before ordering his jersey.

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06-16-2012, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by squidz View Post
I think collectively the posters on the Wild board are overly high on Larsson. I have confidence in his ability to make it in the NHL, but so many people here are willing to gift him a 2nd or 3rd line spot on the team and won't hear any discussion to the contrary. He did earn a spot on Sweden's WC team, but it was basically the last spot on the roster and it's not like he beat out a bunch of NHLers to get there. He certainly wasn't receiving the praise that Brodin did.

Zucker absolutely should be ranked higher than him. I'd also argue that Bulmer probably should be as well. Bulmer showed he can handle the NHL game (even if he didn't absolutely blow anyone away) then went back to Kelowna and showed he absolutely can put the puck in the net as well. In fact of the three, I think I'd rank Bulmer first and Larsson last right now. We'll see how Larsson does in North America before ordering his jersey.
I rank Larsson higher then both bulmer and zucker because he has so much untapped potential. Improved in sel scoring, rookie of the year, gold medal at wjc (c) and sel championship, I think he has a better chance to be a t6 guy.

Still tho, it's not a massive margin, all 3 are quite closely grouped.

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06-16-2012, 06:33 PM
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Larsson is ahead in his development than both Zucker and Bulmer, is a more versatile player - can play both Wing and Center, and his skill set fits in the bottom 6 and can be utilized in the top 6 as well if need be, and has a chance to someday develop into a legit full-time top 6 player (time will tell).

He provides on roster depth in many different ways.

Bulmer is most likely a lock to be a bottom 6 player when he reaches the NHL, but could move up on occasion. Plays strictly on the wing. Though he showed promise in his early stint with the Wild last season, he clearly fell off and showed he's not yet ready for the NHL. Seasoning in the AHL playing against men will better help him adjust to being able to handle the physical aspect of the NHL.

Zucker is a clear tweener between the bottom and top 6, playing on the wing. He also showed some promise late last season, but at times clearly looked out of his element. The AHL is something he definitely needs. Time in the top 6 for Houston will help a lot, playing on both the PP and PK.


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06-16-2012, 06:57 PM
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I think collectively the posters on the Wild board are overly high on Larsson. I have confidence in his ability to make it in the NHL, but so many people here are willing to gift him a 2nd or 3rd line spot on the team and won't hear any discussion to the contrary. He did earn a spot on Sweden's WC team, but it was basically the last spot on the roster and it's not like he beat out a bunch of NHLers to get there. He certainly wasn't receiving the praise that Brodin did.

Zucker absolutely should be ranked higher than him. I'd also argue that Bulmer probably should be as well. Bulmer showed he can handle the NHL game (even if he didn't absolutely blow anyone away) then went back to Kelowna and showed he absolutely can put the puck in the net as well. In fact of the three, I think I'd rank Bulmer first and Larsson last right now. We'll see how Larsson does in North America before ordering his jersey.
What makes you rank Zucker over Larsson?

Just curious. I think an argument could be made for each player over the other, however, I would not think it would be easy to take one over the other at this point.

From what I have seen of Zucker, he is quicker, has a better shot, and good leadership qualities. Larsson, on the other hand, is better along the wall and I would argue understands the game better.

Zucker has NA experience but Larsson has adult experience.

I am glad to see everyone has jumped on the Larsson bandwagon =) I remember saying I wanted him in the 2nd round and then we got him.

Anywho, this is a great problem to have. This next year will be awesome! I will be watching many Aeros games as well!

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06-16-2012, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Jbcraig1883 View Post
What makes you rank Zucker over Larsson?

Just curious. I think an argument could be made for each player over the other, however, I would not think it would be easy to take one over the other at this point.

From what I have seen of Zucker, he is quicker, has a better shot, and good leadership qualities. Larsson, on the other hand, is better along the wall and I would argue understands the game better.

Zucker has NA experience but Larsson has adult experience.

I am glad to see everyone has jumped on the Larsson bandwagon =) I remember saying I wanted him in the 2nd round and then we got him.

Anywho, this is a great problem to have. This next year will be awesome! I will be watching many Aeros games as well!
Zucker should be ranked over Larsson because we've already seen him play in the NHL. He has amazing speed, and has shown that he can at least get by in the NHL game. He has a lot of work to do to become a real top 6 forward in the league, but we already have a body of work on his performance at the top level.

Playing against adults in the SEL is certainly a great accomplishment for Larsson, but the differences between hockey in Sweden and North American hockey are rather large. He'll need to adjust to all those changes and show that he can make the jump to playing against NHLers.

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06-16-2012, 07:11 PM
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I don't jump a prospect over another just because they played 6 NHL games at the end of an NHL season.

6 games means next to nothing. The only thing we really saw, was that he was not NHL ready at this point.

If a few NHL games affect where a prospect should be ranked, then Almond should be way up the list... and both Cuma and Genoway should be ahead of Brodin.

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06-16-2012, 07:18 PM
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Zucker should be ranked over Larsson because we've already seen him play in the NHL. He has amazing speed, and has shown that he can at least get by in the NHL game. He has a lot of work to do to become a real top 6 forward in the league, but we already have a body of work on his performance at the top level.

Playing against adults in the SEL is certainly a great accomplishment for Larsson, but the differences between hockey in Sweden and North American hockey are rather large. He'll need to adjust to all those changes and show that he can make the jump to playing against NHLers.
Meh, I don't think that is a strong argument but we will agree to disagree. Larsson was not in NA and his team was not eliminated from the playoffs. If you switch the two teams each played on, Larsson would be the one with NHL experience. Did Zucker get NHL experience over Larsson due to skill? No, location and circumstances did. And, it's not like Zucker played a ton of games. He started out quite well and then dropped off a bit. The same happened to Wellman the year we signed him as a college UFA.

If you happen to like Zucker's game more, that's one thing, but I just don't think saying he has shown he can hang at the NHL level has been proven - yet.

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06-16-2012, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by TaLoN View Post
I don't jump a prospect over another just because they played 6 NHL games at the end of an NHL season.

6 games means next to nothing. The only thing we really saw, was that he was not NHL ready at this point.

If a few NHL games affect where a prospect should be ranked, then Almond should be way up the list... and both Cuma and Genoway should be ahead of Brodin.
You're begging the question. These are 3 prospects who very clearly should be ranked next to each other. Almond, Cuma, and Genoway have no business being at the top of any list, so their NHL experience (which showed us absolutely nothing in the case of the latter two) is irrelevant to their ranking. Zucker and Bulmer have had the opportunity to show us how they can perform at the NHL level. Six NHL games showed us a lot about Zucker. He certainly has things he needs to improve, but the generic fears about translating his game have been washed away.

Ultimately, people have made a ridiculous deal about the SEL. It's a good league, and prospects there are playing against men, but there's a reason a lot of those men are playing in the SEL and not the NHL, and for the most part it's not because they don't want to be in the NHL. Larsson has at least as many things to learn and improve and prove in North America before anyone can be so certain of his NHL success. He had an opportunity to make an impression against NHL competition at the WC and failed to impress. He's a quality prospect with a bright future, but those ranking him over Zucker and Bulmer are generally buying way too much into hope and fantasy than realistic projection and evidence.

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06-16-2012, 07:25 PM
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I don't jump a prospect over another just because they played 6 NHL games at the end of an NHL season.

6 games means next to nothing. The only thing we really saw, was that he was not NHL ready at this point.

If a few NHL games affect where a prospect should be ranked, then Almond should be way up the list... and both Cuma and Genoway should be ahead of Brodin.
well his post did clarify that Zucker looked pretty decent (obviously still needs work) in those games where as we really have no idea where larsson stands in the north american arena.

Personally I like the Larsson>Zucker>Bulmer ranking. But my rankings are based on what i figure is their raw potential. Just depends on the criteria you use to rank them. We have seen Bulmer and Zucker play in the NHL and it looks (that with a little time and development) like they may have a place in the NHL.

All have a chance of busting and all of them have a chance to become very good players. In reality we could have a Bulmer-Larsson- Zucker third line someday. Actually good chance we see that with the aeros next year.

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06-16-2012, 07:28 PM
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Meh, I don't think that is a strong argument but we will agree to disagree. Larsson was not in NA and his team was not eliminated from the playoffs. If you switch the two teams each played on, Larsson would be the one with NHL experience. Did Zucker get NHL experience over Larsson due to skill? No, location and circumstances did. And, it's not like Zucker played a ton of games. He started out quite well and then dropped off a bit. The same happened to Wellman the year we signed him as a college UFA.

If you happen to like Zucker's game more, that's one thing, but I just don't think saying he has shown he can hang at the NHL level has been proven - yet.
You're missing the point. If Zucker and Larsson's roles were reversed, and Larsson showed what he did at the NHL level, the ranking would be reversed. But they weren't, and we have no idea how Larsson would have performed in Zucker's role. Are you going to rank Ryan Murray over Brent Burns? By your logic the circumstance of their birthdates is the only reason Burns is ranked better than Murray. If Murray had 500 NHL games under his belt and Burns was just in the CHL their rankings would be reversed.

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06-16-2012, 07:35 PM
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squidz, I respect your opinion, but you over-value those very few games played for both Bulmer and Zucker IMO.

The reason people credit Larsson for playing in the SEL, is because that is a much more challenging league to play in than the NCAA's or Juniors, and Larsson has done quite well in that more challenging league.

Yes, most players in the SEL are there for a reason, just like most players are in the AHL for a reason... but the AHL is still a tougher league to play in than the NCAA's and Juniors as well. Conversely, the AHL is not notably tougher to play in than the SEL.

Larsson's success in the SEL etc shows his game is much closer to NHL ready. The only reason I don't have him a lock for a roster spot (though I do have him very close to a lock), is because there is the off chance that he may take longer than expected to adjust to the smaller rink. I'm not expecting that to be an issue though at all.

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06-16-2012, 07:36 PM
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You're missing the point. If Zucker and Larsson's roles were reversed, and Larsson showed what he did at the NHL level, the ranking would be reversed. But they weren't, and we have no idea how Larsson would have performed in Zucker's role. Are you going to rank Ryan Murray over Brent Burns? By your logic the circumstance of their birthdates is the only reason Burns is ranked better than Murray. If Murray had 500 NHL games under his belt and Burns was just in the CHL their rankings would be reversed.
Sort of a straw-man argument isn't it? Murray has no business being compared to a regular NHLer and TaLon/JB Craig aren't saying he should be. They are just pointing out that Larsson looks to be a more versatile and useful player over the long run where as Zucker looks a little bit more one dimensional. Honestly its more about the type of player they are rather then where their experience comes from.

It seems like you guys are just using two different types of criteria to judge players that are at a fairly equivalent place.


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06-16-2012, 07:39 PM
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You're begging the question. These are 3 prospects who very clearly should be ranked next to each other. Almond, Cuma, and Genoway have no business being at the top of any list, so their NHL experience (which showed us absolutely nothing in the case of the latter two) is irrelevant to their ranking. Zucker and Bulmer have had the opportunity to show us how they can perform at the NHL level. Six NHL games showed us a lot about Zucker. He certainly has things he needs to improve, but the generic fears about translating his game have been washed away.

Ultimately, people have made a ridiculous deal about the SEL. It's a good league, and prospects there are playing against men, but there's a reason a lot of those men are playing in the SEL and not the NHL, and for the most part it's not because they don't want to be in the NHL. Larsson has at least as many things to learn and improve and prove in North America before anyone can be so certain of his NHL success. He had an opportunity to make an impression against NHL competition at the WC and failed to impress. He's a quality prospect with a bright future, but those ranking him over Zucker and Bulmer are generally buying way too much into hope and fantasy than realistic projection and evidence.
Exactly. There are obviously prospects who want to mature in their home country first before making the jump and succeed. But then there are also ones whose game, no matter how "North American", simply doesn't translate into small rinks over the pond. Oskar Osala is a damn fine example of the latter. He's a 6.04, 215lb power forward who was drafted in 2006 as a 4th rounder from OHL. He played one more year there and then returned to Finland to play in FEL. He had 35 points (18+17) in 53 games and 10 points in 17 playoff games. He was also one of the key members of the Espoo Blues who made it to the finals that year. I was there, in the stands, watching the guy and my opinion (as was everyone else's) was that here he is. This guy is our next big thing. He's gonna be good.

And oh boy, we couldn't have been more wrong. Fast forward to 2012 and he just made a 2 year extension with HK Neftehimik Ni˛nekamsk, playing in KHL after 3 seasons in AHL and 3 NHL games, posting a grand total of 0 points in NHL.

Then there are, of course, players who can jump over and make an immediate effect, Reijo Ruotsalainen being a fine example of that. The thing is, however, that you can't simply rule out (or rule in) a prospect based on his style of play or "how effective he will be in small rink", because ultimately, player's effectiveness cannot be fully estimated before he actually plays in an NHL game. Only then we will know who is a better player, Jason Zucker or Johan Larsson.

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06-16-2012, 07:40 PM
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Sort of a straw-man argument isn't it? Murray has no business being compared to a regular NHLer and TaLon/JB Craig isn't saying he should be. They are just pointing out that Larsson looks to a more versatile and useful player over the long run where as Zucker looks a little bit more one dimensional. Honestly its more about the type of player they are rather then where their experience comes from.

Honestly you guys are just using two different types of criteria to judge players that are at a fairly equivalent place.
Agreed, on the whole, they are very equivalent. That's why the other day when squidz claimed we were saying Larsson was "better" than Bulmer, I pointed out that nobody is saying anyone is better than anyone, just that Larsson is further along in his development at this point.

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06-16-2012, 07:41 PM
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Only then we will know who is a better player, Jason Zucker or Johan Larsson.
This conversation has NOTHING to do with who's a better player.

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06-16-2012, 07:46 PM
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This conversation has NOTHING to do with who's a better player.
No, but it has everything to do with who WILL BE a better player.

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06-16-2012, 07:48 PM
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You're missing the point. If Zucker and Larsson's roles were reversed, and Larsson showed what he did at the NHL level, the ranking would be reversed. But they weren't, and we have no idea how Larsson would have performed in Zucker's role. Are you going to rank Ryan Murray over Brent Burns? By your logic the circumstance of their birthdates is the only reason Burns is ranked better than Murray. If Murray had 500 NHL games under his belt and Burns was just in the CHL their rankings would be reversed.
Isn't that a bit of a straw man, though? 500 NHL games for a veteran versus a prospect is different than two individuals, similar in age, potential, etc. I see how my logic was faulty with just switching roles but I still do not believe that Zucker's NHL experience automatically bumps him higher than Larsson.

So you have Zucker ranked higher than Granlund then? Honest question. I am trying to understand your logic for ranking Zucker higher than Larsson. My understanding is based on the fact Zucker has played in the NHL and did not seem too far out of place (and you did state he obviously has work to do) whereas Larsson has not played in the NHL or in NA.

So if that logic is correct, would't it be concluded that Zucker should be ranked higher than Granlund since he has not played in the NHL?

PS. If you are still reading, I am just explaining my thought process. I am all for being educated on proper logic/argument structure. I am not trying to be egotistical or come across as a knowitall. Feel free to learn me!

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06-16-2012, 07:52 PM
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No, but it has everything to do with who WILL BE a better player.
Disagree there as well. They are ranked so evenly because you can't really tell who WILL BE a better NHL player. Thus the discussion of where they are ranked is boiling down to who's more ready of the 3 right now. That's why I have Larsson ahead of both Zucker and Bulmer right now.

Add in the fact that Larsson's game is the most versatile (can play up and down the line up at either center or wing), gives him more of an edge for making the team as well.

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