I am of the firm belief that you are not a true Minnesotan unless you have been beyond disgusted by a decision that your team has made, and have also been dead wrong.Rolling into the 2015 draft that was filled with some absolute studs. With us having the 20th overall pick, there was NO WAY we could mess this up right? We were coming off of a hot streak of unreal 1st round draft picks. Starting in order since 2010 we took Granlund, Brodin, Dumba, and Tuch. We lost 2013 in a trade to acquire Pominville, which I think most of us would agree was worth it.
Now of course 20/20 hindsight is a very real thing, but I can’t stress how good of a draft this truly was. Mcdavid, Eichel, Marner, and even Rantanen (ever heard of them?) . Honestly you should go back and take a peek at this draft. It’s disgusting how much talent is in the first 2 rounds.
So who was available at pick 20?Now being from Minnesota you want to cheer for the local guys to come in and be the hero that your organization needs. A hero with gorgeous golden locks and hails from the beautiful city of Burnsville, MN. That’s right Brock Boeser was there for the taking at pick 20. How the fuck could you not want that lion’s mane on your team?
Hell even the gritty (pun intended) Travis Konecny, now of the Philadelphia Flyers, was even available. Sure he can be a bit of a headcase now, but who doesn’t like a little Frank’s RedHot every now and again? I put that shit on everything!Suspense starts to build as the Wild’s management team approaches the stand to greet that little dweeb Gary Bettman and announce the player that is going to take us to the promised land.
In what may possibly be the fastest announcement of a player in the first round ever, we hear “Joel Eriksson Ek.” wait… who? What the fuck are we doing? His draft video is worth a watch by the way, I don’t think there was a single ounce of applause in that entire building. This is what I call a “hot dish pick”. As a Minnesotan, I’m expected to just like it or even be just okay with it, but fucking yuck. If you actually like hot dish you’re a scumbag with no palate.
Eriksson Ek can’t be that bad…right?
I Immediately jumped on my computer to check this guy’s stats, and holy shit was I livid. 6 goddamn points in 33 games in the SHL. Sunken down we were back into our old ways. The following season he loosely improved to 15 points in 41 games. The rest of the stats from Joel Eriksson Ek were nothing to get excited about in the slightest.
Fast forward, and I wasn’t too impressed with him when he made a splash on the scene with us. I thought he was too dainty and weak to play on the 4th line for the Wild. Something about his 14 year old face, and Charlie Coyle hair would drive me fucking crazy.Now today, when you watch him play he is a physical presence on the ice with that same 14 year old face. Like a young Mikko Koivu out there. He’s not afraid to get into those tough areas and seems to always be in the right position. On top of that the word from the inside is he is an absolute unit in the gym according to Marcus Foligno and it’s truly showing. Let’s not forget that he chucked knucks future 2022 teammate Jack Eichel.
Moving forward, and admitting I was wrong…
For perspective, a guy like Parise makes 6 times the money that he does (can’t blame him, congrats on getting the bag) and we are seeing double the production from Eriksson Ek. Yeah yeah yeah, I know age plays a factor here and Parise has had a great career, but I need something to bitch and moan about when we have a pretty promising future.
I made the Mikko Koivu comparison, and I honestly can see him taking that role within the Wild fandom’s heart. Let’s just hope it’s not like the end of Mikko’s time with us where he lacks his heart. But now we have a defensively sound center who punishes opponents with physical play, who we can swing his sweet praises of on the Wild Takes or It’s A Bit podcast.
“It takes a big man to admit his mistake, and I am that big man. -Michael Scott” – Zac Marlow