Wild draft talk, Back from vacation ... physically, anyway
FELDY: This is what it takes to get me to post on the blog these days: I'm watching the Isner-Mahut match at Wimbeldon. Bad tennis, but I can't stop watching simply because I don't want to miss the end. Don't even really like tennis, but if a baseball game went into the 35th inning, you'd watch, right?
In today's print edition of the P-B, Phersy and I talk Wild offseason and NHL draft. The Wild, for now, have the No. 9 overall pick. Who do they take with that pick? Who knows? Their options are a jumble of names, mostly from Canadian juniors, that most fans haven't heard of and won't start caring about for a couple years, at least.
But, since some of us are complete rubes, here's some YouTube clips of guys who the Wild could take if they decide to stay at No. 9 and make the pick:
* Brett Connolly , RW, Prince George (WHL), 6-2, 181. Connolly to the Wild might be wishful thinking. Very well could be gone by No. 9.
* Nino Niederreiter , LW, Portland (WHL), 6-1, 205
* Emerson Etem , W, Medicine Hat (WHL), 6-0, 194
* Ryan Johansen , C, Portland (WHL), 6-3, 190
* Jeff Skinner , C, Kitchner (OHL), 5-10, 195
* Derek Forbort, D, USNTDP (Duluth native), 6-4, 200. Of course if it was up to me, Forbort would be the Wild's pick. You know he's tough; he'll be a defenseman at North Dakota this fall. :-)
* Nick Bjugstad, C, Gophers (Blaine H.S.) -- No. 9 is probably too high to expect Bjugstad to go, but if the Wild trade down, Bjugstad's combination of size (6-3, 190), speed and wicked shot might be difficult to pass up.
A couple of other quick notes from the Wild Road Tour stop here in Rochester on Monday:
* No breaking news here, but a Wild employee told me that team owner Craig Leipold is pushing very hard for the NHL to give the Wild the NHL Winter Classic, and do so soon. Problem: The NHL doesn't want to bring the game here until the Wild has a team worthy of putting in the national spotlight. So, it'll be a few years before we can watch our favorite NHL club play outdoors on New Year's Day. ... And, it sounds like the venue of choice would be the Gophers' TCF Bank Stadium, not Target Field, because TCF has more seats (more seats = more tickets sold = more $ for Wild, NHL). ... And it sounds like Dallas will be the opponent if/when the Classic comes to Minny.
Tennis match ... dead. Isner wins fifth set 70-68. Mahut, like all good Frenchies, should've just surrendered. That's it for me, too.