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 drafts Gustav Olofsson with first pick

Posted by: Michael Russo under Vikings draft, Wild off-season news Updated: June 30, 2013 - 8:51 PM

The Wild, four hours after the start of the draft, has finally selected a player.

With the 46th pick, the Wild drafted Swedish defenseman Gustav Olofsson, a 6-foot-3 blue-liner who scored 23 points for Green Bay of the USHL last year. He is Colorado College bound, although his WHL rights are owned by Portland.

Olofsson moved to the U.S. in first grade because of his dad's job -- auditor. Now they've stayed because of hockey. He has two younger brothers -- including Fredrik, who is following in his footsteps -- Green Bay, then CC. Has lived a lot of places, but mostly grew up in San Jose, Calif., and Broomfield, Colo. No accent. Loves Jonas Brodin. Very excited to wear a Wild uni. Big Broncos fan.

"My nerves kind of dropped. Unbelievably excited," he said.

Assistanr GM Brent Flahr: "Gustav is a big mobile defenseman that really jumped up our draft rankings. He's an intelligent player with quality natural instincts for the game. We feel like his game will continue to improve as he gets stronger and gains experience."

McKeen's scouting report: Steadily improved throughout his first season in Green Bay, his
efforts recognized with a berth on the USHL All-Rookie Team .. a
native of Boras, Sweden who played youth hockey in Denver since
moving to North America with his family in 2009 .. committed
to attend Colorado College along with younger brother Fredrick,
a `96-born forward also drafted by the Gamblers .. SCOUTING
REPORT .. a poised, big-bodied rearguard .. mobile, all-axis skater
powered by excellent feet and a smooth, sturdy stride .. effortless in
turns and pivots and lateral movements .. plays a responsible and
conservative game - guided by solid awareness and hockey sense ..
astute in his positioning - always alert and surveying the landscape
.. not blessed with flashy skills, yet is an accurate passer and
steady puckmover .. manages the puck well - takes the simple play
- and gradually improved his decision making during the season ..
will benefit from adding power to a decent point shot which he has
demonstrated an ability to make space for - and a knack for getting
through traffic to the net .. not afraid to initiate contact with his
expansive body and wingspan .. his impact as a physical presence
should increase as he builds muscle mass onto his spacious frame
.. a solid prospect with versatility and tools at his disposal - and
plenty of development potential.

The Wild has, so far, a third, fourth, fifth, sixth and two sevenths to go.

The Wild took Kurtis Gabriel, a right wing, from Owen Sound 80th overall. Big, tough, gritty

The Wild took Dylan Labbe, a defenseman from Shawinigan, 107th overall

The Wild took Carson Soucy, a 6-4 defenseman from Irma, Alberta 137th overall. Minnesota-Duluth bound.

In the sixth round, it took Grand Rapids High School star Avery Peterson. He was a Hockey Day Minnesota stud and had 23 goals and 54 points in 23 games last year. He's going to Sioux City (USHL) next year.

Brent Flahr:

Gabriel: big imposing winger that brings a physical element every night. He's a late bloomer that really improved this season.

Labbe: a smart puck moving dman that plays in all situations. Needs to get stronger but we feel he has a quality upside.

Soucy: a 6-4 dman with good mobility and does a good job of moving the puck. Will be attending UMD in the fall.

Peterson - a good sized two way center that skates well and has been a productive player at the high school and USHL levels.

2 sevenths to go

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