2009 Minnesota Wild Draft Preview: Minnesotans

Joseph GuntherContributor IJune 25, 2009

LAKE PLACID, NY - AUGUST 09: Jordan Schroeder #12 of Team USA skates against Team Sweden at the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp on August 9, 2008 at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Wild has not selected many players from their home state.

The first Minnesotan the Wild selected was Jake Riddle, a big winger from Fridley, in the eighth round of the 2001 draft. He was one of a few Minnesotans the Wild drafted that was a bust. He is joined by Michael Erickson drafted in 2002 and A.J. Thelen in 2004.

The jury is still out on more recent Minnesota high schoolers Kyle Medvec and Chris Hickey, both players who were drafted in 2006. Medvec had a better freshman season than Hickey did, but Medvec played in almost every game for the University of Vermont, while Hickey played sparingly for the University of Wisconsin.

The Minnesotans that the Wild passed on selecting in the first round are Hastings native Jeff Taffe in 2000, Keith Ballard in 2002, Mark Stuart in 2003, Brian Lee, Joe Finley, and Matt Niskanen in 2005, David Fischer in 2006, and Patrick White and James O’Brien in 2007.

The Minnesotans that were selected before the Wild had its first pick are Zach Parise in 2003, Blake Wheeler in 2004, Erik Johnson, Kyle Okposo, and Peter Mueller in 2006, Ryan McDonagh in 2007, and Jake Gardiner in 2008. A majority of the top talent from Minnesota that Wild fans wish the team had was selected before the Wild made its first pick of the draft.

Thelen was only Minnesotan the Wild selected in the first round.

This year’s crop of Minnesotans looks to be pretty good and the Wild may have the opportunity to select the best of the bunch.

For more information on the top Minnesotans available in the draft click here.