Since the beginning of this slump I have been hearing a lot of rumblings from fans about firing Yeo, or trading Koivu or Backstrom for Zach Parise. Firing Yeo would be a dumb move by the Wild because he has done a lot for this team. As much as I would like to have Parise on our team he would only be a short-term solution. Chances are we would have to trade him during the off-seasons. But I am not here today to talk about the Wild’s current situation or the rumblings from the fans. I am here to talk about the future of the organization and how bright it is.
The future of this organization rests on the shoulders of our prospects like Mikael Granlund, Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle, Jonas Brodin and Johan Gustafsson. I am only naming a few guys for right now, but trust me, the Wild have plenty of talent coming through the system and will one day suit up for the Wild. Lets start with Mikael Granlund.
Mikael Granlund is currently playing for the HIFK in the SM-Liiga in Finland. Last year he helped them win the league championship, which is no small feat because that is a tough league to play in and this league produce some good NHL players. This year Granlund has 17g-23a-40p with a plus/minus 20 in 32 games. In his 3 years with HIFK has 38g-78a-116p with a plus/minus 26 in 116 games. Those are some pretty impressive stats for a young player.
Jason Zucker is no slouch either. He currently plays for Denver University where he currently leads the team with 11g-13a-24p in 18 games played. As a rookie in the WCHA last year he finished the season with 20g-16a-36p in 28 league games. He was named WCHA rookie of the year, WCHA second team and the All WCHA rookie team. This year he was named the captian of Team USA at the WJC where he had 3g-4a-7p in 6 games and was a part of the bronze winning team.
Charlie Coyle is another solid American forward that is now playing Saint Johns in the QMJHL. As most of us fans know, we picked him up during our trades with the Sharks over the last off-season. Prior to jumping to the QMJHL, he played a season-and-a-half at Boston University. While there he tallied 9g-30a-40p in 54 games. He also was a two time member of Team USA at the WJC. Last year he was tied for team lead with 2g-4a-6p on route to their bronze medal and this year he tallied 4g-1a-5p for Team USA.
Jonas Brodin is a solid Swedish born defenseman. He helped Team Sweden win gold at this years WJC with 4 assists. He currently plays for Farjestads BK Karlstad in the Swedish Elite League and had 4 assists in 42 games last season and helped them win the league championship. This year he has 5 assists in 32 games. He is a young defenseman with good speed, mobility, decision making and positioning on the rush and in the defensive zone. With some more experience and more strength he will be a regular for the Wild.
Last, but certainly not least, we have Johan Gustafsson, a solid Swedish born goalie. He is a big goaltender at 6’2″ 203 lbs. He is agile, moves smoothly in the net and has great hockey sense. He also is a good stickhandler. He is currently playing for Luleå in the Swedish Elite League where he has a gaa of 1.93 and an svs% of .921 in 20 games played. Yet an other very good goalie in the Wild system.
These are just a few of the talented young players in the Wild system. We also have guys like Zack Phillips, Erik Haula, Johan Larsson and Dennis Endras. I will have more info on the Wild prospects as they arise.
So before you start jumping ship or another dumb comment like ” our season is over,” “the Wild are not going to make the playoffs for another decade,” or “trade Koivu” again just remember that the Wild have no where to go but up. And up is where the Wild are definitely headed.