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Wild Makes Six Picks On Draft Day Two

Saturday, 06.23.2012 / 12:34 PM CT / 2012 NHL Draft Central
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Wild Makes Six Picks On Draft Day Two

After nabbing a bluechip defensive prospect in Matt Dumba Friday during the first round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Minnesota went about restocking the cupboards up front on Saturday.

The Wild started day two of the draft by selecting left wing Raphael Bussieres with the 46th overall selection, acquired from New Jersey in exchange for Marek Zidlicky.

Bussieres, a native of Longueuil, Quebec, is a three-year veteran of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), where he has played more than 160 games the last three seasons – all but 20 of those with Baie-Comeau.

Last season with Baie-Comeau, Bussieres scored 21 goals and added 23 helpers in 56 games for the Drakkar. He dropped the mitts in the CHL top prospects game, ironically, against Wild first round selection Matt Dumba.

“Raphael plays a real rugged game,” Wild Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr said. “He has skills that fit well with what we’re trying to do here. He plays a power game with an edge. He gets under the opponents skin and can back it up. Those guys are hard to find.”

Bussieres likes to use his frame to win battles down low in the offensive zone. He also is a pass-first forward.

“I use my body to get the puck in the corner,” Bussieres said. “I like to pass more than shoot.”

In round three (68th overall), the Wild drafted its first local product, tabbing Edina native John Draeger, a defenseman from Shattuck-St. Mary's. Draeger is headed to Michigan State this fall.

“It’s indescribable,” Draeger said about getting selected by the Wild. “I was there with my dad and I gave him a big hug.

“Greatest feeling.”

A bruising defenseman, who can also put the puck in the net, Draeger has the ability to punish with his 6-foot-2, 186-pound frame. Known as a rock-solid skater with a long reach, he also scored 11 goals and added 30 assists in 57 games for the Sabres last season.

“I describe myself as a defensive defenseman,” Draeger said. “A two-way defenseman.”

Draeger attended last year’s draft in St. Paul at Xcel Energy Center and said he couldn’t be happier to be selected by the hometown team: “It’s something special. It’s the State of Hockey. Best fans in the world.”

In round four, Minnesota selected Massachusetts-prep forward Adam Gilmour with the 98th overall pick. Gilmour scored 26 goals and 30 assists in 26 games with Noble and Greenough School in suburban Boston last season. Ranked as the 145th best North American skater by NHL Central Scouting in their midterm rankings, Gilmour finished 101st in the same rankings by season's end.

“It’s a dream come true,” Gilmour said. “I’m going to work really hard to hopefully play (in Minnesota) someday.”

Gilmour will play with Muskegon of the United States Hockey League next season before enrolling at Boston College.

“I just want to do the best I can next year in Muskegon to get ready for my freshman year to make an impact,” Gilmour said.

The Wild went outside of North America for the first time with its pick in the fifth round, selecting defenseman Daniel Gunnarsson from Koping, Sweden 128th overall.

Gunnarsson has elite NHL size at 6-foot-4. He scored three goals and four assists last season in 46 games with Lulea.

In the sixth round, Minnesota stayed overseas by selecting Swiss center Christoph Bertschy with the 158th overall selection.

In 44 games between Bern and Bern Jr. last season, Bertschy scored 15 goals and added 23 assists. He also played in six games for Switzerland in the World Junior Championships, scoring two goals and two assists.

A right shot centerman standing just 5-foot-10 and 170 lbs, Bertschy has the ability to go strong to the net and was the 35th ranked European skater in Central Scouting's Midterm and Final rankings.

With their final selection of the draft, the Wild again tapped into the State of Hockey by tabbing Edina High School product and future University of Minnesota winger Louie Nanne.

The Nanne name is legendary in Minnesota, as Louie's grandfather Lou is a former United States Olympian, Golden Gopher and Minnesota North Star player, coach and general manager.

The younger Nanne scored 12 goals and eight assists in 24 games with the Hornets last season. He also flourished in the Minnesota High School Elite League, scoring seven goals and adding 13 helpers in 23 games. Nanne will head to Penticton to play with the Vees in the BCHL next season before playing Gophers in 2013.

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