Other Cases of Wild Players Being Underutilized

In lieu of Allan Walsh's comments earlier in the week that client Marty Havlat was being paid $30 million to not play, here's a look back at some other Wild players, past and present, and their underutilized skills.

2000-2001: Scott Pellerin leads team in scoring despite a March and April vacation in Carolina.

2002-2003: Minnesota's skill of being Cinderella and playoff spoilers only gets used twice.

2003-2004: Although he was able to score 51 points, Alex Daigle does not end up making everyone forget who was drafted second.

2004-2005: Winless team decides to keep Mikko Koivu and John Harding in Houston for some reason.

2005-2008: Andrew Brunette becomes a major disappointment when he fails in a bid to take down division rival Colorado from the inside.

2006-2007: After winning the starting goaltender job, Manny Fernandez only plays in 44 games.

2005-2006: Derek Boogaard only scores two goals.

2007-2008: Wes Walz and his ability to be on the ice unnoticed.

2007-2008: Dominic Moore's skill of being overvalued is passed off on the next team without the requisite second round pick.

2007-2008: Mark Parrish is unable to blossom when his of living in Minnesota for twenty years ends up being overshadowed by his skill of staying in doghouse. Looks like those two years of being a Husky paid off.

2008 Offseason: Pierre-Marc Bouchard's trade value.

2009-2010: The training staff after Marian Gaborik signs a five year, $37.5 million dollar with the New York Rangers.

2009-2010: Benoit Pouliot stops being underutilized and starts being overrated.

2009-2010: Players named Petr.

2010-2011: After an ATV accident keeps him out for three months, James Sheppard's popcorn-making skills in the Xcel Energy Center pressbox.

How To Construct Your Own Tom Powers Article

Are you ready? Good.

Step 1: Ignore all the positive aspects of a team.

Step 2: Come up with a catchy title that's both blunt and grabs the reader. Bonus points if there's a pun. So if you are writing about the America's Cup, the title could be "Jones Hopes to Sail Away" (provided that there is someone named Jones).

Step 3: Start off the article with a metaphor or something which makes you look like an award-winning novelist but has nothing to do with the rest of the article.

Step 4: Everyone is wrong. Everyone. The perfect quarterback, God, the devil and even my mother for having the audacity to birth me are all wrong. In fact the only person who is right is you, the author. Keep that in mind.

Step 5: Once you're able to pound out 500 words about how wrong everyone but you is, click send and spend the rest of the day doing whatever you want. Ahhh, the life of a journalist.

Next week: How to construct your own Sid Hartman article (spoiler alert for my close, personal friends: eat, be merry and let the press releases come to you)

Wild Prospects are 26th According to Hockey's Future

26. Minnesota Wild

Strengths: As a result of picking defensemen and two-way forwards with their top picks in recent years, skilled Finnish forward Mikael Granlund is the first top offensive prospect to join the organization since the early 2000s. Outside of Granlund, newly-signed Casey Wellman and two-way forwards Colton Gillies and Cody Almond have shown NHL potential. Marco Scandella and Tyler Cuma are both talented blueliners that should be joining the Wild sooner rather than later. Weaknesses: Outside of Granlund, the forward prospect pool is lacking in offensive ability. The blue line group is lackluster, devoid of depth and top-end talent. The team is in dire need of prospects on the right wing. There is no bona fide goaltending starter in the system, nor much depth. Top 5 Prospects: 1. Mikael Granlund, C, 2. Marco Scandella, D, 3. Tyler Cuma, D, 4. Colton Gillies, LW, 5. Matt Hackett, G.

With a name like First Round Bust, it makes sense for the first real blurb to be on prospects. Hockey's Future is one of my favorite sites for covering upcoming hockey prospects (full disclosure: I am the Wild mod on their message boards but have nothing to do with the writing side of things). While there is some bias towards Canadian major juniors, it does a great job of getting feedback about all upcoming draftees and Wild prospects in North America and Europe. Twice a year the writers of Hockey's Future come together and rank the thirty organizations based upon their prospects' potential and other factors. The article itself is here and while it is disappointing to see the Wild be in the bottom-five, there is some reason to be optimistic as it's the first time in two years where Minnesota is not ranked last.

GM Chuck Fletcher has done a great job of stocking up depth in his short tenure but there is still a lack of high-end talent. Obviously that's what four underwhelming drafts in a row and trading away prospects and picks like candy will do to your pool, but until that gets fixed - a tough task to accomplish in such a short time - the Wild will be battling to get out of the prospect rankings basement. Drafting Mikael Granlund is a start, but other than him and hoping that Casey Wellman or a prospect like Brett Bulmer, Jason Zucker or Erik Haula overachieves the forward crop is full of two-way grinders. It's unfortunate that the Hockey's Future authors don't give more points to Minnesota's depth, but at a certain point mid-level depth is not enough.

The same goes with the defense although I'm a bit higher on Scandella and Cuma than the authors are. Their potential to make an impact is higher than what is given and although the blue line is weak in terms of depth that's not a problem for Minnesota. Most of the blue line is young and locked up and while the lack of depth hurts the overall ranking, it doesn't hurt the team. That also goes with the goaltending although I disagree with the notion that Matt Hackett is not a future starting goaltender. It's hard for him to be not with given what Hackett has accomplished so far in his career.

In the end, the Wild are ranked where they should be. Their top few prospects are better than the teams below them - that's what happens when your team goes without a first and second round pick - but the lack of any name prospects and a work in progress to expand the depth of the pool bring the overall grade down.

A Quick Hello...

Welcome to First Round Bust, a blog about the Minnesota Wild and hockey in general. The name itself comes from the franchise's poor ability to draft and an honest take of ourselves. There's much more to come and plenty of fun all around so hopefully this takes off.