A few weeks ago during a Wild broadcast, Mike Russo mentioned during the newfangled "Insider's Segment" (whatever, its a million times better than that dastardly "Face Off" bit between Kevin "Hyperbole" Gorg and Mike Greenlay" that The Wild were looking to get "bigger" via this year's Entry Draft; as in they're looking for big bodied players. I still believe they look for skill and competitiveness in the First Round, but I could see how they could want some larger-sized prospects in their pipeline to offset some of the smallish skill players they have; like the 5'10" Mikael Granlund, 5'11" Jason Zucker, 6' Johan Larsson and Matt Dumba, etc.
Now, that being said, there is always a risk of just drafting for one quality; but with Minnesota has a pattern of the qualities they look for in draft-eligibles. So I just happen to know of two kids off of the top of my head that fit the pattern, and the size they're supposedly looking for.
And they're American.
I've seen McCarron live three times this season, basically when the USNTDP made their NCAA exhibition swing through Minnesota- they played Bemidji State, Minnesota, and St. Thomas. McCarron is a massive player who plays a nasty, nasty game; he just bullies the opposing players out there. His issues board-rattling checks, he'll slash players on the tops of their feet, he imposes his will on the ice; but he's skilled too. He isn't the most swift skater, but he isn't a lumbering giant either- he gets up and down the ice at a decent clip. He owns just a blistering wrist shot, that he'll use to create rebounds for teammates, and as you can see from the above picture, he'll set up shop in front of the opposing goalie and just raise hell for everyone involved wearing different color sweaters.
With McCarron though it will be a balancing act between maintaining that bully mindset and not going overboard- Nate and I saw him get booted from both The Gopher and St. Thomas games, one for a check from behind and the other from a skirmish around the UST net that ultimately resulted in a UST defender being helped off the ice with a serious knee injury. A scout I spoke to about McCarron told me about a fight he saw between the big guy and Joel Benson of The Chicago Steel where McCarron ragdolled Benson. He has been lauded as a really good teammate by his peers, as a guy who will keep people loose on the bench and someone who will go out and make things happen to get his team going.
A Western Michigan commit, McCarron's OHL rights are owned by London, so you can certainly expect that the Hunter Family will be throwing loonies and toonies McCarron's way to try and get him to don a Knight Sweater.
The Yale commit was injured during the time I saw Team USA roll through, but I have seen video of him on two different occasions, and his impressive performance at the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. When I watch Hayden, I see alot of Scott Hartnell in his play(including the falling down part. #HaydenDown.) A tireless worker, he'll barrel down on the forecheck or on net, but he has the skill to make plays as well. He has leadership qualities- universally respected in the locker room by his teammates, he fought Lincoln's Justin Woods at the Prospects Game in effort to get his sagging team going. His in-tight skills could use some improvement, but he's got the frame to really be a force on the cycle and along the wall.
Hayden may not be a guy who will be a primary offensive contributor, but he fits the "Tweener" role that Minnesota has made a habit of collecting; a guy who can play the middle-6 role. Gritty enough to check the opposing team's best players, but also skilled enough to play with skill players and provide an element out there that will open up space to operate.
It may be worth mentioning that both are right shots, something this team doesn't have much of.
It was curious when Mike Russo mentioned this tidbit, as anyone who follows his coverage of the team, when he says something to this extent there is generally some truth behind it. These two aren't guys that I would consider with the first round pick, unless it was in the mid-to-late 20's, but I could see them trying to trade back into the 1st (which they tried to do in the Dumba draft) and grab one of these guys if they don't think they'll be there when their next selection rolls around.