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 won't be drafting a goalie in first round; schedule on horizon

Posted by: Michael Russo under Vikings draft, Wild off-season news Updated: June 14, 2012 - 5:17 PM

The Wild held its annual media draft luncheon down at Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub today, and the only thing definitely learned is something we all would have assumed anyway: The Wild will not be selecting a goalie at No. 7 overall in the first round of the NHL draft June 22 in Pittsburgh.

During the news conference today with GM Chuck Fletcher and assistant GM Brent Flahr, a reporter asked Flahr if there's a goalie that could potentially go in the top-10.

Flahr said, "Potentially," before Fletcher cut his right-hand man off and joked, "I’d fall off my chair if we draft a goalie at No. 7." Cracked Flahr: "I’d have to get my resume together probably."

Fletcher said the only way the Wild takes a goalie at 7 is if Flahr beats him to the microphone on stage: "Usually we don’t want to tip our hand, but we’re not drafting a goalie in the first round."

To make clear: Fletcher and Flahr meant absolutely no disrespect to Andrei Vasilevski, a potential top-10 pick and the top-rated goalie in the draft by the NHL's Central Scouting Service.

They were just making clear that the team has pretty good depth at goal with Matt Hackett, Darcy Kuemper, Johan Gustafsson and Stephen Michalek, and forward and defense is the priority.

As for the rest of the afternoon, same talking points as every draft luncheon: Flahr repeated the team's mantra and shared philosophy of most teams -- it drafts the best player available, not necessarily by position. The only exception to that came in 2010 when the Wild literally had no forwards coming down the pike (other than maybe Casey Wellman), had a gigantic need for skill and selected Mikael Granlund at ninth overall even though it was arguably passing over quality defensemen like Cam Fowler.

This summer, six forwards are turning pro -- Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Brett Bulmer, Johan Larsson, Jason Zucker and Zack Phillips. Only one defenseman is perhaps turning pro -- Jonas Brodin, and I say perhaps because if he doesn't make the team, the Wild will have to decide whether to assign him to Houston of the American Hockey League or return him to Farjestad of the Swedish Elite League for the year.

With so many forwards and so few defensemen, one would assume the Wild will be drafting a defenseman, especially with so many highly-rated ones near the top of this year's draft (Moose Jaw's Morgan Reilly, Ottawa's Cody Ceci, London's Olli Maatta, USA Under-18's Jacob Trouba, Edmonton's Griffin Reinhart and Red Deer's Mathew Dumba, to name a few).

But Flahr says that's not necessarily case. The scouts have arranged a draft order, feel strongly about that order and will go by their list. So if the next player on their list happens to be a forward when it chooses at 7, it'll take that forward.

Our draft coverage should begin in Monday's paper, and I'll talk a lot next week about the potential of trades -- or lack thereof, when it comes to the Wild. Fletcher loves making draft-day deals. In fact, he's made five in three years as the Wild GM. But don't expect another Brent Burns for Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle and first-round pick (Zach Phillips) move at this year's draft. I'll explain why next week, although it's fairly obvious. There's no bargaining chip like a Brent Burns and the Wild's not looking to blow a hole through a prospect group it worked so hard and suffered through so much pain to accumulate.

As for other news, no new news: Josh Harding has to decide if he wants to re-sign here or test free agency, Guillaume Latendresse will fly to Minnesota next week to be seen by team doctors and the Wild has to tender qualifying offers by June 25. Of the NHLers, Justin Falk should definitely receive one. I do wonder about Nick Johnson though. He'd probably win a one-way deal in arbitration and the Wild doesn't want to block out all their kids from having a shot to make the team. There's a lot of forwards under contract now, and Johnson had a very tough second half. So we will find out soon.

As for Latendresse, as I've reported -- doubtful he gets a $2.5 million qualifying offer. If the team decides to offer him a deal, it will be a one-year, bonus-laden contract with a lower base salary.

The NHL schedule for next season is expected to be released next week, maybe Wednesday. Of course, that schedule is dependent on the season starting on time.

Similarly, the exhibition schedule should be released Monday. I'm hearing there's a home-and-home with Winnipeg, St. Louis and Dallas, although the Dallas road game will be in Boise, Idaho (I've never been to Idaho!!!). The Wild will also play in Calgary, then likely have a mini-training camp/bonding trip to Banff (in lieu of last year's trip to Duluth).

The regular season is scheduled to open at home Oct. 13. Again, all this is barring a new collective bargaining agreement being in place by Sept. 15.

OK, that's it for me. This was actually take 2 on this blog, so sorry for the delay in posting. The first one disappeared into oblivion. Again, tons of draft coverage will appear in the newspaper next week, so stay tuned.


Kansas City - J. Vargas 7:07 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Buffalo 0 2nd Prd 10:00
San Jose 0
Boston 6:00 PM
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
New Jersey 6:00 PM
Dallas 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Detroit 6:00 PM
Chicago 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Pittsburgh 7:00 PM
Tampa Bay 7:00 PM
Florida 8:00 PM
Washington 9:00 PM
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 FINAL
Rice 41
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 7 FINAL
Wisconsin 52
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
Minnesota 24 FINAL
Illinois 28
Memphis 48 FINAL
SMU 10
North Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia 27
San Jose St 31 FINAL
Navy 41
Northern Ill 28 FINAL
Eastern Mich 17
(25) UCLA 31 4th Qtr 7:52
Colorado 28
Akron 21 4th Qtr 6:55
Ball State 32
Massachusetts 35 4th Qtr 5:57
Toledo 35
Ohio U 14 4th Qtr 3:38
Western Mich 42
Ga Southern 62 4th Qtr 6:00
Georgia State 31
Kent State 3 4th Qtr 9:04
Miami-Ohio 10
Oregon State 7 3rd Qtr
Stanford 28
Fla Atlantic 16 3rd Qtr
(23) Marshall 14
Louisiana Tech 3 3rd Qtr
Southern Miss 7
(1) Miss State 17 3rd Qtr
Kentucky 10
Georgia Tech 28 3rd Qtr
Pittsburgh 14
(22) West Virginia 14 3rd Qtr
Oklahoma State 10
Michigan 3 3rd Qtr
(8) Michigan State 14
Central Mich 14 3rd Qtr
Buffalo 7
Texas Tech 20 2nd Qtr 2:47
(10) TCU 31
Boston College 17 3rd Qtr 14:22
Wake Forest 0
Vanderbilt 0 2nd Qtr 3:19
Missouri 10
Old Dominion 23 2nd Qtr 8:52
Western Ky 28
UNLV 7 2nd Qtr 7:17
Utah State 17
Temple 0 1st Qtr 10:21
(15) Arizona 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 6:30 PM
So Carolina 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Nevada 10:59 PM
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Seattle 2
D.C. 0 2nd Half 44:55
Montreal 1
Toronto FC 6:30 PM
New England
Portland 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Colorado 9:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 7 4:11
Toronto 15
Brt Columbia 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
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