Defense, 6'1" 198 lbs
Houston (AHL)/Minnesota (NHL) 0G-9A 73 games/0G-0A 1 game
I can't lie, even for a blog whose name comes from a series of Minnesota Wild first rounders flaming out, it is disheartening to see the 2008 first round pick as the 18th-best Wild prospect. That's exactly the case with Tyler Cuma, who has a different path to get to the same place as 19th-best prospect Chay Genoway.
Honestly, the way it has happened is such a shame.
When drafted 23rd overall (former Minnesota General Manager Doug Risebrough traded a third round pick to move up one spot) ahead of John Carlson (doh!), Cuma was seen by the team as a steal; a player who could be a top pairing shutdown defenseman. Tyler was able to score (2nd among defensemen on the Ottawa 67's with 32 points [4G-28A] in 59 games) and finished his draft-eligible season first on the 67's with a +4 despite going against opposing teams' first lines. There was no reason why Wild management shouldn't have been happy with the pick. Just look at their faces.
|This is the last time Tyler Cuma was completely healthy.|
Now- he did (eventually) finally make his NHL debut this Spring, a much warranted reward for the seemingly unending string of misfortune. The projected upside may not be as high as before, but he still can be a serviceable 2nd pairing defender as long as he stays healthy. What should be noted is that with every draft class and and the subsequent contract signings, there may be a roster squeeze at some point where Cuma may be jettisoned for someone younger. Purely conjecture, but certainly a possibility if he can't began to make hay while the sun is shining.
Dan Shrader also contributed to this post
Previous 2012 Minnesota Wild Top 20 Articles:
#19 - Chay Genoway
#20 - Tyler Graovac