Minnesota Wild 2004 draft review: lots of picks, little help
The Minnesota Wild had its biggest and most fruitless draft in team history in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
The worst part for the Wild is that with better selections in the first and second rounds this could have been one of the best in team history.
As it is, only one remains with the team and just two others have played for the team.
The Wild made 12 picks in the nine round draft, including two in the third and seventh and three in the fourth rounds.
Round 1, Pick 12
A.J. Thelen, D, Michigan State (CCHA)
The 6-foot-3-inch, 205-pound Savage native played amateur hockey at various levels. He started his high school experience at Shattuck-St. Mary’s. Then finished it at the United States National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. After completing high school, he attended Michigan State University. He had a productive freshman season, which lifted his draft status, but was kicked off the Spartans team before the end of his sophomore season. Spartan head coach Rick Comley said that it was because Thelen “did not meet the expectations for a student-athlete in the ice hockey program at MSU.” He played one season in the Western Hockey League. The Wild gave him a tryout contract at the end of the 2005-06. He played one game in American Hockey League and was not signed for the following season. After one more season in the WHL, the Wild passed on signing him again and relinquished his rights. He bounced around the East Coast Hockey League for four seasons, including a nine-game call up to the AHL in 2009-10. I have not been able to find any information on whether he played professional hockey last season.
Round 2, Pick 42
Roman Voloshenko, LW, Krylja (Russia)
The 6-foot-1-inch, 189-pound Belarussian played two seasons in the Wild organization. He had one of the best individual seasons for the Houston Aeros with 33 goals and 27 assists. After struggling to duplicate that success his second year, he returned to Russia to play in the Kontinental Hockey League. Again, he failed to match the success and has been playing in the Russian 2 league.
Round 3, Pick 78
Peter Olvecky, C, Trencin Jr. (Slovakia Juniors)
The 6-foot-2-inch, 220-pound Slovakian spent four seasons in the Wild organization. He played three seasons with the Aeros before splitting the 2008-09 season between the Wild and Aeros. He recorded two goals and five assists in 31 NHL games. He signed a one-year contract with the Nashville Predators. He spent most of the season in the AHL, but played one game in the NHL. He spent the last two seasons in Europe bouncing between Finland and Slovakia and most recently Russia and Sweden’s elite leagues.
Round 3, Pick 79
Clayton Stoner, D, Tri-City (WHL)
The 6-foot-3-inch, 225-pound British Columbia native has spent his entire professional career with the Wild organization. He played four full seasons in the AHL before his first taste of the NHL. He spent the last two seasons in the NHL collecting three goals and 11 assists. He has battled injuries, but was rewarded for his play when he has been healthy with a two-year contract extension last month.
Round 4, Pick 111
Ryan Jones, F, Chatham (OHA-B)
The 6-foot, 205-pound Ontario native played four games in the Wild organization. He played four games for the Aeros after completing his collegiate career at Miami (Ohio). The Wild traded him to the Predators during the offseason. Before the completion of the 2009-10 season, the Predators placed him on waivers and he was claimed by the Edmonton Oilers. He has been with the Oilers since and has posted his two best statistical seasons as a professional.
Round 4, Pick 114
Patrick Bordeleau, LW, Val d’Or (QMJHL)
The 6-foot-5-inch, 195-pound Quebec native was not signed by the Wild. After completing his junior career, he bounced around the ECHL, including several brief stints in the AHL. In 2009-10, he found fulltime playing time with the AHL affiliate Lake Erie Monsters as an enforcer. He has been with the Monsters since.
Round 4, Pick 117
Julien Sprunger, RW, Freibourg (Switzerland)
The 6-foot-4-inch, 194-pound Switzerland native was not signed by the Wild. He has never left Switzerland. His entire career has been played in the Swiss elite league.
Round 5, Pick 161
Jean-Claude Sawyer, D, Cape Breton (QMJHL)
The 6-foot-3-inch, 204-pound New Brunswick native was not signed by the Wild. He spent three years bouncing between the AHL and ECHL.
Round 6, Pick 175
Aaron Boogaard, RW, Tri-City (WHL)
The 6-foot-3-inch, 220-pound Ontario native was not signed by the Wild. After completing his junior career, he signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the next three seasons bouncing between the AHL and ECHL. He played the last two seasons in the Central Hockey League. The Aeros signed him to a two-way contract, but he never was called up to the AHL.
Round 7, Pick 195
Jean-Michel Rizk, RW, Saginaw (OHL)
The 6-foot-1-inch, 195-pound Quebec native was not signed by the Wild. He played three games in the United Hockey League. NHL.com lists his last season as his only professional experience.
Round 7, Pick 206
Anton Khudobin, G, Magnitogorsk 2 (Russia)
The 5-foot-11-inch, 203-pound Kazakhstan native played three and a half seasons in the Wild organization. The Wild traded him to the Boston Bruins at the trade deadline in 2011. He played six games with the Wild and one with the Bruins in his career and has amassed a 5-1-1 record in those games. He is still in the Bruins organization.
Round 9, Pick 272
Kyle Wilson, C, Colgate University (ECAC)
The 6-foot-2-inch, 205-pound Ontario native was not signed by the Wild. After completing his collegiate eligibility he signed with the Washington Capitals and made himself an NHL prospect. He recorded at least 24 goals and 29 assists, including a 30-31 season, in four AHL seasons. In 2009-10, he earned a call up to the NHL and recorded two assists in two games with the Capitals. He spent the last two seasons between the NHL and AHL with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2010-11 and the Predators last season.