Monday, June 18, 2012

Top 5 Wild Draft Moments

As we kick off draft week, I thought we would take a look back and countdown the top 5 moments in the Wild's draft history. It was a bit hard to find five given the team's success in the draft between 2004-2009 (Not good!), but we did find 5. Here they are:

5. 2002: Wild draft Pierre-Marc Bouchard 8th overall. Before a concussion took away parts or most of the last 3 seasons, Bouchard was rapidly making his way up the Wild all time scoring charts. Even with the injuries Bouchard is the franchise's leader in games played with 522. He has been a tremendous 2nd line forward with great hands and his ability to set up goals. His 229 career assists rank just second to Mikko Koivu, and had he not been injured he would for sure be #1 in team history in assists.

4. 2001: Wild draft Mikko Koivu 6th overall. Since the Wild drafting him in 2001, Mikko Koivu has become the team's 2nd highest all time scorer (Behind Marian Gaborik), he was named the first permanent captain in club history in 2009, and has undoubtedly become the face of the franchise. Like Bouchard, Koivu has a tremendous ability to set up goals, but has been known to make some highlight goals for himself from time to time. Koivu ranks 3rd all time in goals (108), 2nd in assists (253), and 2nd in points (361). Mikko is locked in under contract through the 2017-18 season so expect him to be leaders in those categories before his time is up here.

3. 2011: Wild trade Brent Burns and a 2012 2nd round pick to San Jose for Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle, and the 28th overall pick. (Zack Phillips). It was just about a foregone conclusion that the Wild were going to trade Brent Burns during the 2011 offseason. It just so happened that he got traded on draft night, which was held right here in St. Paul. The Wild became immediate winners in this trade getting a young forward in Setoguchi, and two top prospects in Coyle and Phillips. Both of them are beginning their entry level contracts with the team in 2012-13. Look for this trade to go down as one of the best in franchise history.

2. 2006: Wild trade Patrick O'Sullivan and the 17th overall pick (Trevor Lewis) to Los Angeles for Pavol Demitra. During the 2006 offseason, then Wild GM Doug Risebrough made it a point to acquire some talent under a "Win Now" philosophy. So one of his first moves was bringing in the Slovakian center Demitra, to line up along side good friend Marian Gaborik. They were undoubtedly the best line duo in the team's short history. In the two seasons together, Demitra (40-78-118) and Gaborik (72-68-140) helped the team to two playoff appearances and the team's lone division championship.

1. 2000: Wild draft Marian Gaborik 3rd overall. He became the first player in the history of the franchise. He still sits atop many offensive categories in franchise history including goals (219) and points (437). There has been no better offensive player in the team's history, and his presence is still missed in the lineup to this day. Gaborik was a big help in the team's playoff run in 2003, scoring 9 goals and 8 assists in 18 games played.

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