The Minnesota Wild made two good selections late in the nine round 2002 NHL Entry Draft and its top two selections, but found little help from the rest.
The Wild selected 10 players, including two picks in the third and ninth rounds, but got only limited success from them.
Round 1, Pick 8
Pierre-Marc Bouchard, C, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
The 5-foot-10-inch, 173-pound Quebec native is arguably the best puck handler and set up man in team history. He has played his entire professional career with the Wild organization. He is signed through next season and is a big part of the Wild’s offense. But, he has a big cap hit and has played less than 60 games in each of the last three seasons, including only one in 2009-10. He is team’s all-time leader in assists.
Round 2, Pick 38
Josh Harding, G, Regina (WHL)
The 6-foot-1-inch, 197-pound Saskatchewan native has spent his entire professional career with the wild. He has been an opportunity away from being the team’s No. 1 netminder. He has shown the ability to take over a game, but also has bouts of injuries and inconsistency. He played more than 30 NHL games in a season once. He is an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Round 3, Pick 72
Mike Erickson, RW, Minnesota (WCHA)
The 6-foot-2-inch, 186-pound Eden Prairie native played sparingly in two seasons for the University of Minnesota before finishing his eligibility at Western Michigan University. Upon completing his collegiate eligibility, the Wild did not sign him. NHL.com lists his last season as 2006-07, his only professional season, with the Augusta Lynx of the East Coast Hockey League.
Round 3, Pick 73
Barry Brust, G, Spokane (WHL)
The 6-foot-2-inch, 225-pound Manitoba native did not sign with the Wild and joined the Los Angeles Kings organization as a free agent. He eventually played 11 games in the NHL with the Kings. He returned to the Wild organization in 2007-08 with the Houston Aeros. He spent last season with the Straubing Tigers of Germany’s top league.
Round 5, Pick 155
Armands Berzins, C, Shawnigan (QMJHL)
The 6-foot-4-inch, 227-pound Latvian did not sign with the Wild and has bounced around Europe since leaving North America. He played two seasons in Canadian juniors and two more in the East Coast Hockey League. He has played in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russian, Finland and Latvia since. He played in the top Latvian league last season and competed in the World Championships a few weeks ago.
Round 6, Pick 175
Matt Foy, RW, Merrimack (Hockey East)
The 6-foot-2-inch, 228-pound Ontario native played five seasons in the Wild organization, including portions of three seasons. He since played in the American Hockey League for the St. Louis Blues for one season. He played for the Stockton Thunder of the East Coast Hockey League last season.
Round 7, Pick 204
Niklas Eckerblom, C, Djurgarden (Sweden)
The 6-foot-1-inch, 196-pound Swede was not signed by the Wild. He spent his entire professional career in Sweden. NHL.com lists his last season as 2005-06 with Almtuna IS Uppsala in Sweden’s second league.
Round 8, Pick 237
Christoph Brandner, RW, Krefeld (Germany)
The 6-foot-4-inch, 224-pound Austrian played two seasons in the Wild organization, including 35 games. He then played in Sweden and Germany. NHL.com lists his last season with the Hamburg Freezers in Germany’s elite league.
Round 9, Pick 268
Mikhail Tyulyapkin, D, Nizhny Novgorod Jr. (Russian Juniors)
The 6-foot-1-inch, 187-pound Russian was not signed by the Wild. He has played his entire career in Russia. He played last season for Nizhny Novgorod of the Kontinental Hockey League.
Round 9, Pick 269
Mika Hannula, C, Malmo (Sweden)
The 5-foot-11-inch, 180-pound Swede played one season in the Wild organization. Otherwise, he has played his entire career in Europe. He played in Sweden, Russia and Finland. He split last season between Modo Hockey Ornskoldsvik in Sweden and the Blues in Finland.