3/28 Wild Prospect Update: Brett Bulmer Gets Suspended, Charlie Coyle Puts Up Video Game Numbers

Playoffs are coming and going for the young Minnesota Wild prospects. Some have seen their season end (or in Jason Zucker's case, continue with the NHL team) while others are continuing on towards their league's championship. Then there's Nick Seeler, who Dan watched last weekend.

Saint John F Charlie Coyle (photo from Cape Breton Post)
Regardless of how things end, most of the Wild's future can hold their heads high. This week's prospect update features Charlie Coyle's ovechtrick, a regular hat trick by another Wild prospect, Brett Bulmer getting suspended and a Wild prospect heading to Tampa, Florida.

Saint John Scores Infinity Goals; So Does Coyle

In a league that has the number one team facing the sixteenth (of 17) teams in the first round, it's still somewhat surprising to see the margin of victory that Saint John is winning over Cape Breton (James Sheppard's old team) in the QMJHL. With 8-1 and 8-2 wins, the Sea Dogs look like they're a Twin Cities private school in Class A instead of a team in one of Canada's top three junior hockey leagues with a 29-7 goal differential.

However, Saint John can score goals and that's what we're seeing from Charlie Coyle as First Round Bust's number two prospect has scored eight times (3, 3 and 2) in the three Sea Dog routs. Coyle's 12 points lead the QMJHL in the postseason and are more than many teams. Sea Dogs blog Station Nation does a great job summing up his "video game numbers" and what he means to the team as a six foot, 200+ lbs power forward.
It was the second period when Dogs forward Charlie Coyle put his stamp on the game. With a goal already in the period, Coyle knocked down the same Cape Breton defenceman twice before heading to the front of the net, scoring his second goal – all in a span of about 10 seconds.

The play made me laugh out loud, not in a mocking way towards the Screaming Eagles, but in a “how foolish was that sequence,” kind of way.

In those few seconds, Coyle was the personification of a power forward. If you looked up the term in the hockey dictionary – provided it was online and had imbedded video – that play would run as an example.
The 2010 first round pick by San Jose - acquired from the Sharks in the Brent Burns trade - was rewarded yesterday by being named the CHL Player of the Week. His previous team, Boston University, was eliminated by Erik Haula's University of Minnesota squad in the first round of the West Regional 7-3 but Terriers Coach Jack Parker (not a Coyle fan) was happy with the guys who stuck around.

"I would say it was a rewarding season," Parker said. To see what we went through. There was turmoil and sadness. From December on, they had more fun coming to the rink tan anything else. They were uncomfortable otherwise. It was a hard year for the team."

And as for Zack Phillips? Well the 2011 first round pick is third in the league in playoff scoring with 10 points. Of course he's third on his team and second among Wild prospects too but for a guy who is overlooked right now, those are good numbers nonetheless.

Plus Phillips' best assist this week may be online - he persuaded Charlie Coyle to join Twitter.

Brett Bulmer Suspension

Brett Bulmer (photo from Getty/Yahoo)
One of  the positives that came out of Brett Bulmer's nine-game stint with Minnesota earlier in the season was the chippiness and edge the 2010 second round pick (36th overall) plays with. Even at the NHL level, Bulmer was not afraid to be a pest.

Sometimes, however, that leads to situations where frustrations boil over and players go over the line. That happened with Bulmer in Kelowna's 4-0 Game 2 loss to Portland in the first round of the WHL Playoffs. The team's leading scorer with 34 received an indefinite suspension (later revealed to be one game) after being called for kneeing Winterhawks defenseman William Wrenn. He received a five minute major/game misconduct for the call, which wasn't the first penalty Brett took in the game.

While Rockets announcer Regan Bartel doesn't believe Bulmer to be a dirty player, the Wild prospect's absence did hurt his team. Kelowna fell 6-3 to Portland in Game 3 and are now within one game of being eliminated.

Erik Haula Frozen Four bound

The Erik Haula Beast Mode Series continues...at least for another week

After being embarrassed 6-3 by North Dakota in the WCHA Final Five semifinals, the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers rebounded by defeating Boston University 7-3 and the same North Dakota (sans Fighting Sioux nickname) team 5-2 to advance to the Frozen Four in Tampa, Florida. Haula was the only Minnesota forward who was not a plus player in the BU win but rebounded to score a goal against UND 20 seconds into the second period.

"It means an awful lot," the 7th round pick in 2009 said after the North Dakota game. "(Getting to the Frozen Four) was one of the goals at the start of the season. One was to win the MacNaughton Cup, which we did. One was to win the Final Five, which we didn't get, and to get to the Frozen Four is a great accomplishment."

"But as a team we're not satisfied with that. We want to keep playing good hockey and keep going all the way."

Haula now has 20 goals and 28 assists in 42 games.

The Gophers will face Boston College, who defeated Air Force and defending national champions Minnesota Duluth, 7 p.m. CT April 5 on ESPN2.

Mikael Granlund's SM-Liiga Season Over

HIFK F Mikael Granlund (photo from MTV3.com)
From one Finn to another, First Round Bust #1 Wild prospect Mikael Granlund's season is over after HIFK was swept 4-0 by Jokerit in the SM-Liiga playoffs. The latest loss, a 2-0 shutout, happened this afternoon and ended a postseason which saw the defending champs score 4 goals.

It's a disappointing end to Granlund's season and SM-Liiga career. While the league's third-leading scorer came back after missing a month due to illness, he was not the same player that led Finland earlier in the season to a World Junior Hockey Championships bronze medal. The 9th overall pick in 2010 is still slated to play in the World Championships, meanwhile, and will be available to sign with Minnesota after the May tournament.

Also apparently this is how they celebrate winning in Finland.

(h/t Erik Sundermann)


Mario Lucia Gets Hat Trick

Although Penticton saw their nothing short of impressive 42 game winning streak snapped before the BCHL playoffs, the team is still going strong in the Interior Conference Finals; having dispatched Chilliwack beforehand. Minnesota Wild prospect Mario Lucia notched a hat trick last night in the Vees' 5-0 win over the Merritt Centennials and is tied for the team lead with 9 points (6 goals - 3 assists) in seven games.

From friend of First Round Bust Fraser Rodgers on Lucia's play the last two games:
Lucia’s “hatty” was his fourth this season (regular season included) and first against the Centennials. Three of the four hat-tricks have come against an Interior Division foe, with the one exception being Powell River on December 17th. I think we’re seeing a player starting to understand his body better and realize how his size can open up room and make him such an effective player. Lucia is 6’3 and he just needs to remind himself that every game going forward. After having an up and down start to the post-season Lucia has been one of the best Vees in the last three games.
Lucia, First Round Bust's eighth-best Wild prospect, plays again tonight.


Sean Lorenz Signs AHL Deal

We skipped over this last week but the 2008 4th round pick by Minnesota signed an amateur tryout contract with Houston for the rest of this season and an AHL contract for next year after the Notre Dame senior's season ended without a NCAA Tournament appearance. Lorenz is an offensive defenseman with good size and mobility but like other players in the Wild system will have to adjust his game to reach the next level.

J.T. Brown Going Elsewhere

Finally, while Minnesota Duluth sophomore J.T. Brown is not a Wild prospect, he did attend their development camp in July. However, the team will not be on his short list, which are Philadelphia, Boston and Tampa Bay.

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