Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Team of 18,001's Top 10 Wild Prospects: 7-4

7. Mario Lucia-Forward Penticton (BCHL). The Wild traded up to take Lucia in last year's entry draft (60th overall, 2nd round). This is a move that should pay off nicely. In his only season with Pencticton, Lucia has notched a line to date of 37-51-88 (2nd on his team. Yes, you read that right, second.) in 53 games played this season. He has helped the Vees to a record of 53-3-2 (The best in the BCHL) and they are currently riding a 40 game winning streak. Lucia is committed to Notre Dame for the 2012-13 season, so he is still a few years away from wearing a Wild sweater.

6. Matt Hackett-Goalie Houston (AHL). Hackett has seen limited time with the Wild this year. But, when he has gotten his chance, he has not disappointed. He has stopped 100 of 102 shots against with the big club this year (.980 save percentage) and also has a 0.63 GAA. But that comes in just 5 games played (only 1 start!). With Houston, Hackett is 17-13-4 with a 2.41 GAA and a .917 save percentage this year. It would seem he is the heir apparent to the starting job in the 2013-14 season after Backstrom's contract is up. So look for him in a Wild sweater full time next season as a backup.

5. Jason Zucker-Forward Denver (WCHA). Zucker was drafted by the Wild in 2010 (2nd Round, 59th Overall) just prior to him heading to Denver to play for the Pioneers. In his two seasons in Denver, Zucker has posted back to back 20+ goal seasons while also being at the top of the Pioneers scoring chart. A big improvement for Zucker this year has been his presence on the power play as he has registered 9 PP goals this year, compared to 2 all of last year. Zucker has not signed a entry contract yet, so one would assume that he will play one more season in Denver, but he too could end up in Houston next year.

4. Jonas Brodin-Defenseman Farjestads BK (Elitserien). When you look at Brodin's stats, he doesn't jump off the page at you. So obviously he must do something else well when he gets taken 10th overall in the NHL Draft. He is a tremendous presence in the defensive zone, and he is known as a very intelligent defenseman.. He has the skill set to be a good two way forward in this league, so watch for his offensive stats to get better over time. Brodin signed a three year entry level contract last July, so look for him to be playing in Houston next year.

Here is the list through today. Come back tomorrow for the final three!
10. Darcy Kuemper
9. Brett Bulmer
8. Johan Larsson
7. Mario Lucia
6. Matt Hackett
5. Jason Zucker
4. Jonas Brodin
3. Tomorrow
2. Tomorrow
1. Tomorrow

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