Sunday, January 13, 2013

2013 Top 10 Wild Prospects: 4-1

4. Jason Zucker-Forward Houston (AHL). Previous Rank: 5
Since making the jump to the AHL from the WCHA, Zucker has produced very similar numbers (22-24-46 for CC last year in 38 games, 15-17-32 in 31 games for Houston this year). He got a cup of coffee with the Wild at the end of last year, after signing with the team but only produced 2 assists in 8 games. Zucker has good offensive skills, and put the right players on a line with him (As we have seen in Houston), he can be a top 6 forward with the Wild. Good chance Zucker spends the rest of the year with Houston, but look for him to compete for a roster spot on the Wild next fall.

3. Jonas Brodin-Defenseman Houston (AHL). Previous Rank: 4
Like many others on this list, Brodin came over from Europe this year to play with Houston. And then 8 games into the season, Brodin broke his clavicle on a hit by Taylor Hall. Brodin had tallied 2 goals and 2 assists with Houston before going down, which was a big improvement from his stats with Farjestads in the Swedish Elite League last year (0-8-8 in 49 games). But, Brodin wasnt drafted for his offensive ability. He is a great defensive defenseman, and does tremendous work in the defensive zone. He has great vision and great presence of mind, which gives him an advantage over anyone trying to attack when he is on the ice. Brodin had a decent chance to make the team, had he not fallen injured. But now look for him to return and finish out the year with Houston, unless the Wild suffer injuries to the blue line.

2. Charlie Coyle-Forward Houston (AHL). Previous Rank: 3
At 6'2" and 210, Charlie Coyle projects to be a top 6 guy, who will make his living out in front of NHL netminders. And so far, Coyle has done that, posting 12 goals so far on the year with Houston, while being a big presence on the power play. Coyle put up big numbers with St. John's last year (15 goals, 38 points in 23 regular season games; 17 goals, 32 points in 17 playoff games), while leading them to the QMJHL championship. Coyle doesnt project to make the Wild roster this year, but with a few spots opening up next year, look for him to compete for one of those spots.

1. Mikael Granlund-Forward Houston (AHL). Previous Rank: 1
At long last, the Wild got Mikael Granlund to come over from Finland. Then a 113 day lockout, spoiled our hopes of seeing him play in a Wild sweater in 2012. But now that its 2013, Granlund is slated to open the year as the Wild's #2 center, after playing with Houston during the lockout. Granlund comes in as one of the top prospects in all of hockey. If you need to see why he is so highly regarded, please go do a YouTube search on Mikael Granlund right now. He has all the offensive skills you could ask for. Skates well. Tremendous vision up ice. Hands that are second to none. And can put the puck behind the goalie when the situation calls for it. So far this year, Granlund has put up a line of 8-13-21 in 21 games (ankle injury shortened his year). Last Friday, Granlund was pulled from the Aeros lineup and returned to St. Paul to begin practicing with his Wild teammates. Look for his debut to come on the opener, which will be on Saturday.

Minnesota Wild 2012-13 Top 10 Prospects List
10. Mario Lucia
9. Brett Bulmer
8. Zack Phillips
7. Matt Dumba
6. Matt Hackett
5. Johan Larsson
4. Jason Zucker
3. Jonas Brodin
2. Charlie Coyle
1. Mikael Granlund

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