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Mr. Hockey stays home

By Brian Halverson, 06/26/09, 6:28PM CDT


Nick Leddy taken by Wild 16th overall

MONTREAL - Former Eden Prairie defenseman Nick Leddy, a University of Minnesota recruit, was selected by the Minnesota Wild in the first round (16th overall) of the NHL entry draft on Friday night. 

The Wild which entered the evening with the 12th selection swapped picks with the New York Islanders in exchange for additional picks later in the draft. This was not surprising considering how Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher had lamented how bare his predecessor, Doug Risebrough, had left the draft cupboard.

What was somewhat surprising was Fletcher stepping to the podium and announcing Leddy's name as his selection with Gopher center Jordan Schroeder still on the board. Most experts had Schroeder ranked in the top 15 while Leddy was listed as a late first-round selection.

But in the days leading up to the draft, Wild assistant GM Tommy Thompson made it no secret that the team was enamored with the 2009 Minnesota Mr. Hockey Award winner.

With the selection, Fletcher wasted little time separating himself from the previous regime which had received heavy criticism for mostly ignoring players from the state of Minnesota. 

Mike MacMillan - Executive Director of the Minnesota Hockey Coaches
Association which represents High School Hockey Coaches says the body of high school coaches is excited not only that Nick Leddy was selected as the 16th pick overall in the NHL draft, but makes again a strong statement that High School hockey produces some of the best players in the World. It is also exciting that the State of Hockey will be able to see Nick Leddy someday play for our hometown Minnesota Wild.

High School hockey has been fortunate to produce some the the NHL's top players and draft picks( list some ie. Fischer, Oshie, Niskanen, Backus, Wagner, Ness).

Nick Leddy has been a great example of patience and dedication to his school and HS Hockey.  Nick played in the MHCA Elite II league preseason league, Elite I league preseason,  which allowed him to develop to the player he is today and earned top honors recently as Mr. Hockey given to the top HS player in the State.

It has been quite a year for Leddy. After fulfilling a dream by committing to play at the University of Minnesota, he declined an invitation to play in Ann Arbor for the U.S. National Team Development Program only to be rewarded with winning a state championship with his childhood friends.

Now he becomes only the second Minnesota-bred player to be selected by the Wild in the first round of the draft.