Between Jacques Lemaire leaving as Wild head coach and today's news that general manager Dough Risebrough has been fired, there's got to be some hope in Minnesota today. Perhaps the people running the top organization in the State of Hockey won't have such an obvious disdain for players from the State of Hockey.
This past season the Wild had the fewest former NCAA players on their team in the NHL with just three: Krys Kolanos, Craig Weller, and John Scott. Neither Scott nor Weller played a regular shift with the Wild either. Scott's highest time on ice total was 13 minutes in the Wild's final game, a blowout win, while Weller never got above 11 minutes of ice time in a game. Kolanos' time with the Wild was a product of their putrid farm system. Meanwhile, former college players that the Wild let walk away like Brian Rolston and Dominic Moore had great seasons.
Their track record in the draft over the 9 drafts the team has had is just as embarrassing. In 2007, they were the only NHL team to not draft either an American or a college bound player. They've only drafted more than one American in the same draft twice.
They've also only drafted five Minnesotans in the history of the franchise(and I'm being generous here giving Danny Irmen a 'close enough'): 1st round pick A.J. Thelen, 2nd round pick Danny Irmen, 5th round pick Kyle Medvec, 7th round pick Chris Hickey, and 8th round pick Jake Riddle.
It's not that Minnesotans are lighting things up everywhere in the NHL, but when you ignore such a large percentage of the talent pool. and you have one of the worst farm systems in pro hockey, you have to start drawing some correlations. There's a great hockey tradition in Minnesota and it was a shame to see the local pro organization turn their back on it.
Clearly the public's honeymoon with the Wild is over. The novelty of just having a pro hockey team is starting to fade. Hopefully the next regime will be a little more respectful of what the local talent has to offer.