SUNRISE, FLA. – David Quinn didn’t mince words when talking about Jordan Greenway, the incoming Boston University freshman whom the Wild took 50th overall Saturday in the NHL draft.
“I’ve never been so excited to coach a kid,” said Quinn, entering his third year as the Terriers’ coach. “He’s just dripping with talent. There’s so much there. It’s a heck of a pick by Minnesota. I don’t want to overstate it, but I think he can be very good.”
The 6-foot-5 power left-winger from upstate New York scored 44 points in 53 games for the U.S. Development Program’s Under-18 team. He’s also familiar with Minnesota, having played three years starting in the eighth grade at Faribault’s Shattuck-St. Mary’s. During one bantam season, Greenway scored 52 goals and produced 126 points in 60 games.
“I wanted to go to a prep school,” Greenway said, laughing. “I wanted to leave home and play in my own age group. Getting out into better competition I thought would help my game a lot, and it paid off.”
Quinn said the Wild got a steal. “He’s just scratching the surface,” Quinn said. “Total power forward, skill, good hands, good hockey sense. You look at a big guy like that at 18, you’d think he’d be clumsy. He’s an athlete. If this kid was a football player, he’d be a five-star tight end going to Notre Dame or Alabama. And he’s a great kid. He’s a personable, likable kid.”
After three hours of anxiety, Jack Sadek’s heart pumped in the seventh and final round Saturday when his father got a text from Wild scout Marty Nanne that the Wild planned to take the Lakeville North defenseman with its 204th and final pick.
The University of Minnesota-bound player, coming off an undefeated season and state championship with the Panthers, was ecstatic.
“I don’t even know what to say. I’ve been to a ton of Wild games,” said Sadek, a cousin of Gophers defenseman Brady Skjei. “I’ve dreamed about it my whole life, and it’s the Wild. Awesome.”
Sadek described himself as a two-way defenseman who “likes to skate the puck and likes to hit people.”
Nicholas Boka, taken by the Wild in the sixth round, faced similar stress when he sat in the stands for hours not hearing his name. “It’s been a long day, but it was definitely worth the wait,” said Boka, who is heading to the University of Michigan.
Granlund deal elusive
Restricted free agent Mikael Granlund’s deal isn’t yet complete. The two sides didn’t have a chance to work at it Friday because General Manager Chuck Fletcher was working the draft table and meeting with Devan Dubnyk’s agent, Mike Liut.
It’s clear Fletcher is getting frustrated: “It’s very close. It’s close. We’ll see if we can’t close the gap. If [agent Todd Diamond] just gets a little bit more reasonable, we’ll get it done.”
One Russian, one Czech
The Wild drafted the first Russian and second Czech player in seven drafts during the Fletcher era. Of the 14 Europeans taken out of 43 Fletcher picks before Saturday, 12 had come from Sweden and Finland and one from Switzerland and Czech Republic.
But with its fourth-round pick, the Wild drafted 6-foot-3 goalie Ales Stezka from the Czech Republic. He’ll play next season for Sioux Falls in the United States Hockey League. Then, without a fifth-round pick, the Wild traded its 2016 fifth-round pick to Boston for the 135th pick and drafted skilled Russian left wing Kirill Kaprizov.
Oilers youngster Oscar Klefbom, who is Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin’s best friend, congratulated Wild first-round pick Joel Eriksson Ek via Twitter. Translated from Swedish, it read, “Congratulations @EKEriksson! Well deserved. You get a good mentor. #25.” …
For the first time since 1998-99, the Gophers won’t have a first-round pick on their roster next year.