Brent Burns and his Zoo will be moving from the snowy confines of Minnesota to the sandy paradise of California but he will be leaving the Wild with a kings ransom of picks and players for his services.
First off I absolutely love this trade. Chuck Fletcher took a highly skilled, albeit erratic player in Brent Burns on an expiring contract and turned him into a Top 6 forward in Devin Setoguchi who is only 23, a potential first line prospect in Charlie Coyle who was argued by several scouts to be a top 10 pick in the 2010 draft (along with the Wild's 2010 pick Mikael Granlund) and Coyle is considered widely to have been the best American at the World Championship. Coyle is expected to turn pro and seek playing time in the Houston Aeros lineup. Chuck Fletcher then followed it with a 1st round draft pick that has turned into Zach Phillips. A talented Quebec Major Junior Champion, playmaker, and 2 way forward. Further sweetening this deal is not only the players and picks received its the underlying hockey value it gives. Burns at 26 is not the youthful prospect with unlimited years to figure out a consistent game, but Devin Setoguchi at 23 still has plenty of seasons left to build upon a solid scoring resume and another 30+ goal season is absolutely in reach playing alongside Mikko Koivu and Pierre-Marc Bouchard two players I highlighted in my last blog as needing a scoring forward to help raise their game to the elite level they are capable of. Devin Setoguchi is that forward that will put pucks in net. Another great bonus for the Wild is that both players picked up are scoring Right Wings and this can also help the Wild thru addition by subtraction by ending the Antti Miettinen years and adding much needed skill to the position. (I like Miettinen... as a 3rd liner.)
The Wild continued an excellent draft day by selecting Jonas Brodin of Sweden in the 10th spot. He is known as a shut-down defender, strong skater, excellent first pass, smart hockey player in the vein of the Legendary Nicklas Lidstrom. That is lofty company to keep but this young prospect may end up wearing the Iron Range Red paired with Nick Schultz shutting down forwards in as little as 1 season. What intrigued me most excited about Brodin is his excitement of playing in Minnesota. He visited the team yesterday and his agent reported that his only comment was "I want to play here" and that is what Wild fans should want to hear from young talent. The only potential downside to Brodin is he lacks a physical edge as well as a slender frame for his height. (6"1 177lbs)
Overall this was an excellent day one of drafting and trading by Chuck Fletcher and the Wild. The tribute to Boogarrd was touching, the pace at times brutal, the Wild have more hope as franchise than before the day started. After tomorrow I will bring a detailed look into future players of the Wild as well as begin looking into the immediate season ahead of us. The Wild are rising and rising fast...