2012 Minnesota Wild Prospects: #14 - Daniel Gunnarsson

Photo courtesy of Elite Prospects
Daniel Gunnarsson
Defense, 6'4" 192 Pounds
Lulea J20/Lulea (Swedish Elite League) 2-1-3 in 6 games/4-3-7 in 43 games

The book on the 2012 Entry Draft was that after the first 50-60 players it pretty much became a crap shoot- meaning that teams could use their mid to late round picks to take chances on projects, overage kids who had been passed over once or twice, or take the son of one of the members of their scouting staff.
Minnesota pretty much did that- taking long-term development projects like John Draeger, Adam Gilmour, Christoph Bertschy, and Louie Nanne. None of them may have the upside of their 5th round pick, Daniel Gunnarsson.
While he did get some run in the 2010 ISS Draft Guide, Gunnarsson went undrafted. He took off this last year however; after starting the season with Lulea's Junior Team, he stepped up into the Senior level as an injury replacement and never looked back. He was also one of the last cuts for Sweden's Gold Medal-winning World Junior Team as well. I think this may have helped his exposure to Minnesota's European-based scouts; that fellow Minnesota Wild Prospect Johan Gustafsson plays goal for Lulea.

Photo courtesy of Kuriren.Nu

What made FRB rank Gunnarsson so highly in his initial debut on our Annual Top 20 List is what he showed the masses at The Wild Prospect Camp Scrimmages. While he's a tall lanky thing, his ability to effortlessly move up and down the ice reminds us quite a bit of another tall lanky right shot defenseman- Brent Burns. Gunnarsson showed great offensive instincts by using his great skating to insert himself into offensive situations while be able to recover and regain defensive position without being a detriment. Granted it was a semi-serious scrimmage- but he used his reach and skating to take away time and space defensively; added muscle mass would do wonders in terms of being able to clear the crease and lean on opponents.

In all seriousness, the parallels to Burns are there- including the ability to skate the puck up the ice, attack, and inject offense from the back end.. Of course, projection is an inexact science- he fits the mold of what Chuck Fletcher wants his blueline to be, and we really like the potential upside that Gunnarsson possesses. I do think there is some "wait and see" with him though as he'll stay in Sweden, as his contract expires after this season- this gives The Brass a chance to see if he wasn't just a flash in the pan and retains a vital role for Lulea, if not excelling further. 

Previous 2012 Minnesota Wild Top 20 Articles:
#15 - Raphael Bussieres
#16 - Kris Foucault
#17 - Nick Seeler
#18 - Tyler Cuma
#19 - Chay Genoway
#20 - Tyler Graovac
Honorable Mentions

1 comment:

  1. I like the risk/reward on this one, and lord knows we're due to have one of those hit for us.