After being placed on waivers yesterday, Colton Gillies has been claimed by the Columbus Blue Jackets where he now gets to play for former Wild head coach Todd Richards. Per Michael Russo of the Star Tribune:
Gillies, a big part of the Houston Aeros’ run to the Calder Cup Finals last year, was placed on waivers yesterday with the intention of reassigning him to Houston so he could get his game and confidence back.
It didn’t work.
Waivers was risky because most teams look through scout’s eyes and Gillies is a physical, fast, young, former first-round pick and he could be had for absolutely free on waivers. So that appealed to at least one of the other 29 teams.
“There’s a chance somebody could claim him, and that’s the risk we’re taking,” Fletcher said yesterday. “But the status quo wasn’t accomplishing what anybody needed to get accomplished. We needed to change it up for him and give him a chance to get his game going.”Gillies, the 16th overall pick in 2007 (in which former Minnesota General Manager Doug Risebrough traded a second round pick [42nd overall] to move up 3 spots; that pick became Eric Tangradi) joins the long line of first round picks that did not work out with the Wild (hence the name of the website, First Round Bust). From 2004-2009, only 2008 first round pick Tyler Cuma is left with the organization. In order:
2004: 12th overall - AJ Thelen. Complete flameout, never signed with the Wild and his compensation pick was the one traded to Anaheim for Gillies
2005: 4th overall - Benoit Pouliot. Never was able to do anything with Minnesota despite being a top-five pick, traded for Guillaume Latendresse and now with Boston
2006: 9th overall - James Sheppard. Touted as the future, he's the only top-ten pick of 2006 to not amount to anything, traded to San Jose for a 2013 3rd rounder and hasn't played in a season and a half after an ATV accident.
2007: 16th overall - Colton Gillies.
2008: 23rd overall - Tyler Cuma. Still with the organization but multiple knee injuries have pushed him down the depth chart and make the decision to draft him (and move up one pick at the expense of a 3rd rounder when other defensemen like John Carlson were still on the board) questionable.
2009: 16th overall - Nick Leddy. Traded with Kim Johnsson for Cam Barker, his presence lives on in the organization with Matt Hackett and (in theory) Erik Haula
Hopefully the streak ends with 2010 (In FBJ we trust....) but for now it's a sad and painful reminder of what could have been for Minnesota.