SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- What a short and winding road it has been for Nick Leddy -- Minnesota to Minnesota, via Montreal. The Wild's top draft pick (No. 16 overall) has been running at full tilt over the past few days, but, in a perfect world, after the Wild selected him this past Friday in Montreal, he would be looking at a hometown hat trick of playing high school, college and pro in the State of Hockey.
Over the past few days, though, one might forgive Leddy for not knowing which way is up ...
Leddy, who chose to stay for his senior season at Eden Prairie, where he won both a state title and was named Mr. Hockey, jumped on the merry-go-round Friday night, when GM Chuck Fletcher called his name.
Within minutes, he was being whisked around the Bell Center -- participating in interviews, responding to texts (the first came from his younger brother who was back home and playing in a baseball tournament, and he was over 100 within an hour), and having his picture taken about 1,000 times. His next stop, finally, was the Wild's suite at Bell Center with his family. And, as of about midnight, his family was still at the arena, congregating, talking to the family of fellow first-rounder Jordan Schroeder and slowly making its way back to a nearby hotel. Leddy hadn't taken off his '09 Wild jersey with L-E-D-D-Y on the back.
The slick-skating defenseman retired to his own room at the hotel, alone rather than mobbed for the first time in what probably seemed like days, but he was back at the rink on Saturday morning to wait and watch for Zach Budish to be selected.
Not long after the Draft concluded on Saturday, Leddy and his family enjoyed the Wild's reception for its draft picks at a downtown Montreal restaurant. While ostensibly a celebration, the reception also served as what might feel not unlike another job interview -- this is where the Wild scouting staff, front office, and assorted representatives of the organization has the opportunity to talk further with its draft choices.
The Leddy family returned to the Twin Cities on Sunday, but, hanging over Nick's head was an early wakeup call for a 7 a.m. workout in preparation for playing next season with the Gophers. At 9 a.m. he had a class -- American Indian History -- to attend. Without much time to relax, his 2:30 p.m. appointment with the Twin Cities media awaited at Xcel Energy Center.
Flanked by home and away Wild jerseys, backed by a custom nameplate, and in front of a handful of cameras and microphones recording him, Leddy wore his own jersey (the Wild equipment staff had sewn his name into the jersey earlier), a Wild hat and a pair of shorts while answering still more questions.
When he spoke of the previous few days, he was at perhaps his most animated when he looked back to Sunday night, when the Leddys returned home and he was able to go to his room and think about all that was happening.
On Monday, soon after his media availability, he was back on the merry-go-round and leaving for a 5 p.m. class. His life may slow down slightly in the coming days, but Nick Leddy's days as a compelling local story are very likely only beginning.
Next up? Leddy will return to Xcel Energy Center very soon for the Wild Prospect Camp in early July.