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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Coveting Tuch, Wild resisted trading back

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news Updated: June 27, 2014 - 10:48 PM

Evening from Philly, where the Wild selected Boston College-bound power forward Alex Tuch, a 6-4, 215-pound right wing, with the 18th selection. (Read more about him on the previous blog)

This is BC coach Jerry York on Tuch to College Hockey Inc.: “Alex has all those prerequisites for a big, strong, power forward. He’s got size, strength, he skates well and he has a real powerful shot. We saw some really good improvement in his game the last two years and are excited about what he’ll bring as a freshman. He’ll get even better as he adjusts to this level and improves on his ability to make plays with the puck.”

GM Chuck Fletcher was on the phone a lot right before the pick, but as it turns out, he says he was doing the answering and not the dialing. He says some late trade offers for a chance to move back and gobble up extra picks came in, and if Tuch wasn’t still on the board, he would have moved down.

But the chance to get a big, skilled power forward who can skate as deep as the Wild was picking was too good an opportunity to pass up, Fletcher said. Went with quality over quantity, he said.

“This guy can skate, he’s big and strong,” Fletcher said. “He can shoot the puck. He’s going to be a handful for people to defend against.”

Read the stories in the paper for most the details, but Tuch will obviously be developing at BC for awhile, so this is a pick for the future. As I wrote earlier in the week and tomorrow’s paper, it’s very clear the Wild the past two or three drafts has gone for size.

Tonight, 25 forwards were taken and no goalies in the first round. No Minnesotans yet either. Tuch said he has watched a lot of Wild hockey because of Minnesotan teammates on the Under-18 team, Jack Dougherty, Jack Glover, Ryan Collins and Shane Gersich.

So, he was excited and offered this scouting report of himself: “Very versatile, highly skilled, heavy shot, use my body, play all three ends on ice.”

Trade-wise, Fletcher says he doesn’t really have anything cooking player wise but will try to shuffle picks if there are players the Wild wants Saturday in Rounds 2-7. He will try hard to trade into the second round, he said. The Wild doesn’t currently have one.

He would like to draft a goalie Saturday, too. “There’s several names we like.”

“We’re going to get good players in the third and fourth round,” Fletcher said. “Brent [Flahr] and his staff have put together a pretty good strategy for things we’re looking at at different parts of the draft.”

Only James Neal was dealt on the draft floor, going from Pittsburgh to Nashville. Ryan Kesler was traded from Vancouver to Anaheim earlier in the day.

“I predicted more,” Fletcher said. “I still think there’s things that teams are working on. I still anticipate more. The cap ceiling is at $69 million. That’s probably a little lower than most of us would have believed a week ago, so it might take some teams out of adding money unless they can move money. I think it’s going to tighten up the market a little more.”

My guess is Fletcher will dive into the free-agent market because if you look at the depth chart I'll post Saturday, from the NHL roster, the only real tradeable commodities are young players and Fletcher doesn't want to trade them.

As I wrote in the paper, Fletcher met with Matt Niskanen’s agent Friday and will talk to him again Saturday. But Niskanen has a chance to get a big, big contract, so it’ll be interesting to see how high the Wild’s willing to go.

As for Thomas Vanek, I’m getting the sense the Wild will offer him a three-year deal.



The Florida Panthers selected Aaron Ekblad from the Barrie Colts (OHL) with
the first overall pick, marking the 13th time in NHL history – and first
time since 2006 (Erik Johnson, STL) – a defenseman has been taken with the
top choice.


Year    Player  NHL Team        Amateur Team
1966    Barry Gibbs     Boston Bruins   Estevan Bruins
1967    Rick Pagnutti   Los Angeles Kings       Garson Native Sons
1973    Denis Potvin    New York Islanders      Ottawa 67’s
1974    Greg Joly       Washington Capitals     Regina Pats
1976    Rick Green      Washington Capitals     London Knights
1979    Rob Ramage      Colorado Rockies        London Knights
1982    Gord Kluzak     Boston Bruins   Nanaimo Islanders
1992    Roman Hamrlik   Tampa Bay Lightning     ZPS Zlin (Czech.)
1994    Ed Jovanovski   Florida Panthers        Windsor Spitfires
1995    Bryan Berard    Ottawa Senators Detroit Jr. Red Wings
1996    Chris Phillips  Ottawa Senators Prince Albert Raiders
2006    Erik Johnson    St. Louis Blues U.S. National U-18
2014    Aaron Ekblad    Florida Panthers        Barrie Colts

* Ekblad became the second No. 1 overall selection in Panthers history,
following Ed Jovanovski in 1994. The franchise also held the top pick in
2002 and 2003, but traded it on both occasions.

* Both of Florida’s top picks – Ekblad and Jovanovski – are defensemen who
were born in Windsor, Ont.

* Ekblad became the sixth OHL player drafted with the No. 1 overall
selection in the past eight years, following Patrick Kane in 2007 (London
Knights), Steven Stamkos in 2008 (Sarnia Sting), John Tavares in 2009
(London Knights), Taylor Hall in 2010 (Windsor Spitfires) and Nail Yakupov
in 2012 (Sarnia Sting).


The 30 players selected in the first round were born in 10 different
countries: Canada (14), United States (five), Czech Republic (two), Finland
(two), Russia (two), Denmark (one), England (one), Germany (one), Sweden
(one) and Switzerland (one).


* Forward Leon Draisaitl, who went third overall to Edmonton, became the
highest-drafted German-born player in NHL history. The previous distinction
was held by Marcel Goc, who was selected 20th overall by San Jose in 2001.

* Forward Nikolaj Ehlers, who was selected ninth overall by Winnipeg,
became the second-highest drafted Danish-born player in NHL history. That
distinction belongs to Mikkel Boedker, who was picked eighth overall by
Phoenix in 2008.

* Eight of the first 10 overall picks, including each of the first seven,
came from the Ontario Hockey League or Western Hockey League.

* Eleven of the first 13 picks were forwards (D Aaron Ekblad at No. 1 and D
Haydn Fleury at No. 7 were the only non-forwards selected in that span).

* Forward Sam Reinhart, who was picked second overall by Buffalo, became
the highest-drafted member of his family. His brother Max was selected 63rd
overall by Calgary in 2010, while his brother Griffin was taken fourth
overall by NY Islanders in 2012. Their father, Paul, was drafted 12th
overall by Atlanta in 1979.


F Leon Draisaitl (selected 3rd overall by Edmonton): His father, Peter, was
a Czech-born, German professional hockey player who participated in
numerous international tournaments for Germany as a member of their men’s
national team, including the 1988, 1992 and 1998 Olympic Winter Games. He
also has coached professionally in both Germany and the Czech Republic.

F Nikolaj Ehlers (selected 9th overall by Winnipeg): His father, Heinz, was
selected 188th overall by the New York Rangers in the 1984 NHL Draft and
played in various European professional leagues from 1981-2004.

F Kasperi Kapanen (selected 22nd overall by Pittsburgh): His father, Sami,
was selected by the Hartford Whalers in the fourth round (87th overall) of
the 1995 NHL Draft, and totaled 458 points (189-269—458) in 831 games with
the Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers.

F William Nylander (selected 8th overall by Toronto): His father, Michael,
registered 679 points (209-470—679) in a 920-game, 15-season NHL career
with the Hartford Whalers, Calgary Flames, Tampa Bay Lightning, Chicago
Blackhawks, Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers.

F Brendan Perlini (selected 12th overall by Arizona): His father, Fred,
played eight games with the Toronto Maple Leafs after being drafted by the
team 158th overall in 1980. Brendan began his hockey career in the United
Kingdom, where Fred worked as the director of a hockey program after his
playing career ended in 1997 with the Guildford Flames of the British
Hockey League.

F John Quenneville (selected 30th overall by New Jersey): His older
brother, Peter, was selected 195th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in
the 2013 NHL Draft and his younger brother, David, made his WHL debut this
season with the Medicine Hat Tigers. His uncle by marriage is current
Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk and his second cousin is former NHL
player and current Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville.

F Sam Reinhart (selected 2nd overall by Buffalo): His brother, Max, was
selected by the Calgary Flames in the third round (63rd overall) of the
2010 NHL Draft, while his brother, Griffin, was drafted fourth overall by
the New York Islanders in 2012. Their father, Paul, was selected 12th
overall by the Atlanta Flames in 1979 and played 11 NHL seasons with the
Flames and Vancouver Canucks.

F Nicholas Ritchie (selected 10th overall by Anaheim): His brother, Brett,
was selected 44th overall by the Dallas Stars in 2011 and won a Calder Cup
championship with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League in 2013-14.

F Nick Schmaltz (selected 20th overall by Chicago): His brother, Jordan,
was selected 25th overall by the St. Louis Blues in the 2012 NHL Draft and
currently plays defense for the University of North Dakota.


Anaheim traded Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa, its 1st-round pick in the 2014 NHL
Draft (24th overall) and 3rd-round pick in 2014 (85th overall) to Vancouver
for Ryan Kesler and Vancouver's 3rd-round pick in 2015.

Vancouver traded Jason Garrison, the rights to Jeff Costello and its
7th-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft to Tampa Bay for Tampa Bay's 2nd-round
pick in 2014 (50th overall).

Vancouver traded Anaheim's 3rd-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft (previously
acquired, 85th overall) to NY Rangers for Derek Dorsett.

Pittsburgh traded James Neal to Nashville for Patric Hornqvist and Nick

San Jose traded its 1st-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft (20th overall) and
NY Rangers' 6th-round pick in 2014 (previously acquired, 179th overall) to
Chicago for Chicago's 1st-round pick in 2014 (27th overall) and Florida's
3rd-round pick in 2014 (previously acquired, 62nd overall).

Tampa Bay traded NY Rangers' 1st-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft
(previously acquired, 28th overall) to NY Islanders for the Islanders'
2nd-round pick in 2014 (35th overall) and Montreal's 2nd-round pick in 2014
(previously acquired, 57th overall).

Like I mentioned, read the stories in the paper for insight and quotes. And I’ll talk to you Saturday. The draft starts 9 a.m. CT.


Cleveland 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 11/23/14 12:00 PM
New England
Green Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 11/23/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis 11/23/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Miami 11/23/14 3:25 PM
Washington 11/23/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
Dallas 11/23/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
NY Jets 11/24/14 6:00 PM
Baltimore 11/24/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 11/27/14 11:30 AM
Philadelphia 11/27/14 3:30 PM
Seattle 11/27/14 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Phoenix 122 FINAL
Philadelphia 96
Orlando 105 FINAL
Charlotte 100
Detroit 89 FINAL
Atlanta 99
Milwaukee 83 FINAL
Toronto 124
Boston 100 FINAL
Memphis 117
Cleveland 78 FINAL
Washington 91
Brooklyn 94 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
San Antonio 121 FINAL
Minnesota 92
LA Lakers 106 FINAL
Dallas 140
New Orleans 97 FINAL
Denver 117
Chicago 87 FINAL
Portland 105
Utah 88 FINAL
Golden State 101
NY Rangers 0 Postponed
Buffalo 0
NY Islanders 5 FINAL(SO)
Pittsburgh 4
Boston 4 FINAL(SO)
Columbus 3
New Jersey 2 FINAL
Edmonton 0
Texas A&M 59 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 50
Drexel 70
Clemson 70 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Dayton 64 FINAL
Connecticut 75
Akron 51 FINAL
Miami-Florida 79
Seton Hall 68 FINAL
Nevada 60
Valparaiso 59 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 46
UNC Greensboro 79 FINAL
Longwood 81
Syracuse 66 FINAL
Iowa 63
Central Conn St 49 FINAL
Towson 58
Boston College 66 FINAL
West Virginia 70
Ill-Chicago 58 FINAL
Yale 70
Alcorn State 69 FINAL
Hampton 82
Old Dominion 70
Prairie View 45 FINAL
Baylor 60
Montana State 0 Postponed
Buffalo 0
Maine 48 FINAL
Central Mich 76
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Eastern Mich 71
Wofford 54 FINAL
Fairfield 36
Troy 60 FINAL
Georgia 82
IUPU-Ft Wayne 69 FINAL
Georgia Tech 78
Stony Brook 65 FINAL
Hofstra 66
Boston Univ 65 FINAL
Kentucky 89
Loyola-Chicago 52 FINAL
Michigan State 87
Toledo 68 FINAL
Oregon 78
Lehigh 74 FINAL
Rider 78
Charlotte 65 FINAL
South Carolina 63
Stanford 89
George Washington 42 FINAL
Virginia 59
Hiwassee 53 FINAL
Western Carolina 72
Texas 71 FINAL
California 55
Florida Memorial 48 FINAL
FIU 74
Southern Ill 51 FINAL
Kent State 74
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
Monmouth 73
New Mexico 69 FINAL
George Mason 58
Delaware State 71 FINAL
Arkansas 99
Florida 61
Austin Peay 66 FINAL
Illinois 107
Morehead State 64 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 73
Jarvis Christian 70 FINAL
McNeese State 85
Milwaukee 68 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Stephen F Austin 63 FINAL
Xavier 81
Kennesaw St 55 FINAL
North Dakota St 68
North Dakota 72 FINAL
South Dakota St 74
Iona 85 FINAL
Wake Forest 81
Louisiana 80 FINAL
Auburn 105
Georgia State 70 FINAL
Colorado State 80
Marshall 67 FINAL
Louisville 85
Oral Roberts 42 FINAL
Oregon State 55
UC Riverside 42 FINAL
Utah 88
Idaho State 68 FINAL
Washington St 80
Illinois State 73 FINAL
Weber State 64
Florida A&M 49 FINAL
Grand Canyon 64
Sam Houston St 93 FINAL
South Dakota 85
Temple 54 FINAL
Duke 74
Penn State 72 FINAL
Cornell 71
Delaware 60 FINAL
Cal Poly 78
Washington 63 FINAL
Seattle 48
Kansas State 60 FINAL
Long Beach State 69
Presbyterian 38 FINAL
American Univ 63
Pittsburgh 70 FINAL
Hawaii 74
(12) Kansas State 26 FINAL
West Virginia 20
North Carolina 45 FINAL
(25) Duke 20
Arkansas State 27 FINAL
Texas State 45
Kent State 0 Cancelled
Buffalo 0
Texas-El Paso 13 FINAL
Rice 31
Air Force 14 FINAL
San Diego St 30
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Utah State 41
Char Southern 11:00 AM
(9) Georgia
South Alabama 11:00 AM
So Carolina
Rutgers 11:00 AM
(10) Michigan State
Minnesota 11:00 AM
(21) Nebraska
Northwestern 11:00 AM
(18) Marshall 11:00 AM
Kansas 11:00 AM
(23) Oklahoma
Indiana 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Penn State 11:00 AM
(14) Eastern Ky 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio 11:00 AM
Western Ky
SMU 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech 11:30 AM
Wake Forest
Washington St 12:00 PM
(13) Arizona State
Louisiana Tech 12:00 PM
Old Dominion
Western Mich 12:00 PM
Central Mich
New Mexico 12:30 PM
(22) Colorado State
Eastern Mich 1:00 PM
Ball State
Appalachian St 1:00 PM
Tulsa 2:00 PM
(15) Arizona 2:30 PM
(20) Utah
FIU 2:30 PM
North Texas
(8) Ole Miss 2:30 PM
Louisville 2:30 PM
Notre Dame
Maryland 2:30 PM
Texas Tech 2:30 PM
Iowa State
(14) Wisconsin 2:30 PM
Syracuse 2:30 PM
Boston College 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Georgia State 2:30 PM
Tulane 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Stanford 3:00 PM
Western Carolina 3:00 PM
(2) Alabama
ULM 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
So Florida 3:00 PM
Colorado 3:30 PM
(3) Oregon
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Samford 6:00 PM
(16) Auburn
Miami-Florida 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt 6:30 PM
(4) Miss State
(19) Missouri 6:30 PM
Oklahoma State 6:30 PM
(6) Baylor
(24) USC 7:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Cincinnati 7:00 PM
Boise State 9:15 PM
Oregon State 9:30 PM
Fresno State 9:30 PM
UNLV 10:00 PM
Ohio U 11/25/14 6:00 PM
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(5) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
(21) Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(18) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(19) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(15) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(11) UCLA
(22) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
BYU 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(20) Utah 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Oregon State
Kentucky 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(24) USC
So Carolina 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Florida 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(1) Florida State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(25) Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Montreal 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 11/23/14 3:30 PM
TBA 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Delaware 60 FINAL
East Carolina 89
Wiley 65 FINAL
Sam Houston St 48
SE Louisiana 78 FINAL
Troy 80
St Francis-NY 63 FINAL
North Dakota 70
Eastern Kentucky 56 FINAL
Central Arkansas 55
Chattanooga 53 FINAL
(3) Notre Dame 88
LSU-Alexandria 0 Cancelled
Nicholls 0
UT Martin 47 FINAL
Dayton 78
William & Mary 59 FINAL
NC A&T 57
Eastern Illinois 55 FINAL
Florida State 91
Marquette 77 FINAL
Wake Forest 89
Columbia College 55 FINAL
SC State 97
Rider 51 FINAL
Towson 53
Cleveland State 74 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 79
Jackson State 48 FINAL
Mercer 80
Elon 67 FINAL
Charlotte 54
Hofstra 46 FINAL
Fordham 60
High Point 62 FINAL
NC State 66
Lehigh 74 FINAL
Alabama A&M 50 FINAL
Samford 61
Morehead St 57 FINAL
Indiana 98
San Diego State 43 FINAL
Furman 60
Columbia 68 FINAL
Stony Brook 82
East Tenn St 79 FINAL
St Francis-PA 63
Evansville 59 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 77
Winthrop 48 FINAL
(4) Tennessee 81
Mount St Marys 42 FINAL
Campbell 60
Alabama 85 FINAL
Kansas 80
Canisius 68 FINAL
Bryant 71
Long Beach St 85
Saint Louis 74 FINAL
SE Missouri St 56
Graceland 54 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 89
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Oral Roberts 73
Stephen F Austin 82
Hampton 46 FINAL
Kansas State 66
Bradley 55 FINAL
Oklahoma 104
Houston 68 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 66
North Florida 53 FINAL
Miami-Florida 81
Arizona 54 FINAL
Texas Tech 57
Massachusetts 56 FINAL
North Texas 46
Kent State 54 FINAL
Northwestern 72
Pepperdine 68 FINAL
(19) Iowa 97
Denver 41 FINAL
Wyoming 82
(24) Gonzaga 89 FINAL
Montana State 60
Boise State 64 FINAL
Southern Utah 66
Temple 81 FINAL
Georgetown 58
Missouri 79 FINAL
Cal Poly 87 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 79
Montana 50 FINAL
Pacific 62
Portland 41 FINAL
CS-Northridge 45
Villanova 50 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 43
Seattle 62 FINAL
Washington St 82
(14) California 79 FINAL
Hawaii 72
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