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Wild Selects Brodin and Phillips in First Round

Friday, 06.24.2011 / 8:06 PM CT / Minnesota Wild | 2011 NHL Entry Draft
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Wild Selects Brodin and Phillips in First Round

For the first time in Wild history, the club held two first round picks in the NHL Entry Draft. The day didn't start out that way, but after a trade announcement involving Brent Burns for Devin Setoguchi shook the Xcel Energy Center rafters, the Wild was able to add two young players to its growing corps of top prospects.

With the 10th overall selection (which the Wild owned coming into the day), the club drafted smooth-skating Swedish defenseman Jonas Brodin. According to Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr the game comes easy to the 17-year-old who spent last year playing on one of the best teams in the premier Swedish Elite League.

"He's an elite skating defenseman with really good puck moving ability and he really thinks the game well," said Flahr. "It's a huge step for a young player and with his composure and sense and natural ability to play the game. He played well."

For Brodin, hockey is the easy part. Getting bombarded with questions in a language he's still grasping might have been the biggest challenge thus far for a kid who can't legally drink, but has spent a year playing defense in one of the best hockey leagues outside of North America.

His next challenge will be adding muscle to his lanky 6-foot-1 frame and using the next couple years to prepare himself to join a team that could be heavy on Finns.

Brodin is okay with that.

"It's a fantastic feeling to be drafted by Minnesota in Minnesota," said the third-ranked European skater by the Central Scouting Service. "I'm very happy."

Brodin was interviewed by the Wild earlier this week and was given a tour of the club's locker room, but he wasn't certain he would end up getting cheered by the hometown crowd. While Brodin was unsure where he would end up, Wild Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr felt very good about the decision.

 "Because he's playing with men, he doesn't get all the first power play ice time. But when you get to see him get to play with his peers, you understand where he is and he's obviously a high quality prospect."

Brodin's statistics don't jump out (he had four assists in 42 Elite League games), but he says that has more to do with the skill level of his teammates and opponents.

"It's  tough," he said of the Swedish season. "But  this season there were very many injured on defense so I got much play time.  It was good for my development to play much in the Swedish league."

Later in the night, the Wild had another first round pick at its disposal following the coup stirred up by the trade.

With the 28th overall pick obtained from San Jose, the Wild grabbed center Zack Phillips of the Memorial Cup winning Saint John Sea Dogs.

Phillips centered the top line in Saint John which included third overall pick, Jonathan Hubedeau. Phillips racked up 95 points in 67 games on 38 goals and 57 assists.

"Zack is a very smart, heady player," said Flahr. He's got good hands. He's always in the right spot. He's got a real nose for the net."

Phillips admitted that he needs to improve his skating, but he doesn't doubt his ability to fill the net and make hay in the offensive zone.

"I'm a playmaking forward," he said. "I can put the puck in the net but I like to use my vision and I've got good hockey sense. I like to set up the guys around me and make them better."

There is still plenty of work ahead with day two of the draft coming tomorrow with rounds two through seven. The Wild owns five more picks, but already the past two drafts appear to have yielded some high hopes for the coming years.

Fans should get a kick out of following a plethora of prospects from afar including first rounders Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle (picked 28th overall last year and acquired in the Setoguchi trade), Brodin and Phillips as well as second rounders Brett Bulmer, Johan Larsson and Jason Zucker.
Minnesota Wild 2011 Draft Board
Position / PLAYER Height
/ Weight
1/10 6-1 / 169
1/28 C / zack phillips 6-0 / 175
traded to boston in exchange
for chuck kobasew
2/60 LW / Mario lucia 6-2 / 183
3/71 Traded to vancouver in exchange for no. 60 (mario lucia)
4/101 Traded to vancouver in exchange for no. 60 (mario lucia)
D / Nick Seeler
6-2 / 185
g / stephen michalek
6-2 / 183
C / tyler Graovac
6-3 / 179

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