Monday, July 01, 2013

2013 NHL Draft: UMD, Area Represented

The 2013 NHL Draft brought plenty of interesting moves and decisions.

While we didn't get the blockbuster trades that were rumored (does that ever really happen in any sport?), it's always fun to see the best player in a draft (Seth Jones in this case) go fourth overall.

And you wonder why the teams in the top three were in those positions, and why two of them seem to have been there quite often, at least lately.

(I'll get off my soapbox now. Nathan MacKinnon is a good hockey player, but Jones is a special talent, and this reeks of the years where NFL teams felt they had to take a quarterback with the first pick, even if the quarterback wasn't the "best player" on the ol' board.)

Anyway, the Wild didn't have a first round pick. It was sent to Buffalo in the deal to acquire Jason Pominville. Efforts to move into the first round failed, so the Wild moved to acquire a recent first-round pick via trade.

Minnesota sent forward Cal Clutterbuck to the New York Islanders -- along with a third round pick -- for forward Nino Niederreiter. "El Nino" was a first-rounder in 2010, fifth overall. He was rushed to the NHL, with some speculating he was only on the Islanders' roster so they would hit the payroll floor mandated by the CBA. Niederreiter struggled in a fourth-line role, was banished to AHL Bridgeport, and demanded a trade when he wasn't invited to training camp after the lockout.

The Wild also dealt defenseman Justin Falk to the Rangers, hopefully ending the endless stream of "Didn't he play for UMD?" tweets. No, that's Justin FAULK. This is Justin FALK.

Anyway, the draft was also successful for college hockey. 63 current or future NCAA players were picked Sunday, marking the 12th straight year that number was at least 60.

The Wild picked up a future UMD defenseman, Carson Soucy, in the fifth round. Soucy will start at UMD this fall. He's a big body at 6-4 and the Wild like his ability with the puck. He will be the first Wild draft pick to suit up for UMD.

Grand Rapids star and (most likely) future college player Avery Peterson went to the Wild in the sixth round. Peterson is undecided on a college, and also undecided on high school or junior hockey this winter.

(Unsolicited advice: Stay in school. Peterson can still get better with Rapids, and he'll have memories he can't duplicate anywhere else in life. Play in juniors next season, then go to college.)

2014 UMD recruit Blake Heinrich -- a defenseman -- went in the fifth round to Washington. Future Bulldogs Adam Johnson and Neal Pionk were among those passed over. Both will join UMD after plying their craft in the USHL.

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