The hard decision has been made and now the hard work starts for Wild prospect Alex Tuch.
One day after deciding to leave Boston College after two seasons to sign with the team that drafted him 18th overall two Junes ago, Tuch said his goal is to make the Wild next season.
“I’m going to fight for a spot on the Wild,” the power forward said. “There’s no doubt about it in my mind that I’m going to come in great shape, be ready to go and ready to fight for a spot. But I know I’m going to have to earn it.
“It won’t be a surprise to me at all if I start the year in Iowa. But everyone wants to play in Minnesota. My aspirations are to make the Wild.”
Tuch, 19, spent six days deciding whether to turn pro. There were a lot of meetings with coaches, a phone call with GM Chuck Fletcher, talks with his parents and “conference calls” with his agent and others.
“I loved my time at BC,” he said. “I loved my teammates, my coaches have been nothing but great. I’ll always miss this school, but I thought it was best for me and my development as a hockey player to move on. I’m ready for the new challenge. I’m ready for that next step.”
Tuch’s teammate, Steve Santini, signed with the New Jersey Devils last week and immediately made his NHL debut. Santini told Tuch it’s not that the players are faster in the pros, it’s that they think faster.
“I think I’m big enough and strong enough, but I have to work on the consistencies and positioning and get that down and make sure I do that correctly to play for the big club,” Tuch said.
Tuch’s contract starts next season. For him to be eligible for the playoffs, Tuch would have had to burn the first year of his deal and sign before the Wild’s final regular season game Saturday, assistant GM Brent Flahr said. Boston College’s season ended Friday.
“It was a heartbreaking loss and the playoffs wasn’t an option in our minds,” Tuch said.
Tuch is expected to attend the Wild’s home playoff games next week and also practice either with the team or soon-to-be minor-league callups.