Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Wild takes Alex Tuch at No. 18

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news Updated: June 27, 2014 - 8:54 PM

The Wild took Alex Tuch, a 6-4 right winger who played for the U.S. national development team, with the 18th pick in tonight’s NHL Draft in Philadelphia.

Tuch has committed to Boston College, which is expected to again be a college powerhouse next season.

The Wild had Tuch in for a couple of interviews, and was known to be very high on him. His advisor, Steve Bartlett, is also Thomas Vanek’s agent.

"He's a big, strong winger with quality hands and an NHL shot," assistant GM Brent Flahr said in a text. "We feel that he has tremendous upside and we are very excited to add a potential power forward to our group of prospects."

Tuch is a power forward who was ranked 12th in the final Central Scouting rankings. He is from Baldwinville, N.Y., and grew up playing youth hockey in Syracuse.

Here is his NHL.com profile:

• In 2013-14, his second season with the U.S. National Team Development Program, Tuch tied for the under-18 team-lead with seven game-winning goals and a plus-35 rating. He ranked third on the club with 64 points (29-35—64) in 61 games.

• A two-time medalist with Team USA, Tuch won gold at the 2014 Under-18 World Championship (0-3—3 in seven games) and bronze at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (1-3—4 in 6 games). He was also part of the U.S. Under-18 team that finished first at the 2012 Four Nations Tournament.

• Growing up, he idolized his neighbor, Tim Connolly, a Syracuse native who played 11 NHL seasons with the New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs.

• In 2011-12, Tuch set the Empire Junior Hockey League scoring record with 101 points (44-57—101) in 40 games as a 15-year-old.

• He has committed to Boston College for the fall of 2014: “Boston College has always been my dream school. I can remember watching them in the Frozen Four when I was six years old.”

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