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The Official Site of the Minnesota Wild

Day Before The Draft

by Mike Doyle / Minnesota Wild

The Lighthouse is in the home of American Independence, the Liberty Bell and, of course, the Philly Cheesesteak (cheesesteak count is at one, today). Oh yeah, and the site of this year’s NHL Entry Draft at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Today, the top prospects participated in a skills clinic for local youth players, and in the afternoon fielded questions from media members at The National Constitution Center, with Independence Hall as the backdrop for the event.

Yesterday, the prospects took a trolley tour of the city, with Anthony DeAngelo, who grew up about 20-minutes outside of Philly in Sewell, New Jersey, acting as the tour guide. DeAngelo said that his favorite part of the tour was the ending, where the prospects took batting lessons and got to take a few cuts at Citizen’s Bank Park.

Another highlight for the youngsters was running the famous steps from the movies Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III and Rocky IV (Rocky V and VI never happened). But the main attraction for all the prospects in town will come tomorrow, when they’ll climb the steps of the Wells Fargo Center stage when an NHL team calls their name.

The Lighthouse asked Brendan Perlini, the No. 8-ranked North American skater who skated for the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League, if the nerves have kicked in yet. He said no, but that with all the excitement and anticipation heading into tomorrow it might be tough to fall asleep tonight. Perlini hasn’t experienced a Philly Cheesesteak yet, and said tonight might be the night. That could help him fall asleep in a deep food coma, or go the other direction depending on where he goes…(the House likes to paint verbal pictures, but we’ll pass in this instance).

Overall, the prospects have been well coached on how to handle NHL Scouting Combine, the events, media and Draft itself. The top-ranked North American goaltender, Thatcher Demko, who is teammates with Wild prospect, Adam Gilmour at Boston College, said that he’s talked to a lot of his contemporaries about the process. Most importantly, however, his family is here to keep him grounded, no matter what happens.

Finally, we talked to staff writer and Draft expert, Mike Morreale, about this year’s Draft prospects (that video will be on WildTV later this afternoon). Morreale said that there is no clear-cut, consensus No. 1 pick this year, and at the top of the board, teams can draft more on want than need with a variety of types of players amongst the top five to seven. When asked what he thinks the Wild will do with the 18th pick, he said that Demko would be a nice prospect to stash and develop for down the road. However, the Wild’s brass has recently been more apt to pick up netminders late in the Draft. Last year, the club picked Alexandre Belanger in the seventh round, 2011 Stephen Michalek in the sixth, 2010 Johan Gustafsson in the sixth, but we’ll all have to wait and see tomorrow.

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