DALLAS -- Minnesota Wild prospect Alex Tuch, according to General Manager Chuck Fletcher, has something you can't teach.
Fletcher and the Wild are hoping those intangibles, plus the lessons Tuch has learned will turn him into an effective pro.
Tuch, who just finished his sophomore season at Boston College, signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Wild on Wednesday.
The 18th pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, Tuch scored 32 goals as a collegiate in two seasons, and a week after Boston College lost in the 2016 Frozen Four to Qunnipiac in the national semifinal, Tuch decided it was time to make the jump to the next level.
"(It was) several phone calls with my agent, my parents, Chuck Fletcher, Brad Bobardir, and meetings with my coaches here," Tuch said. "Just a lot of thought went into it. It's been in the back of my mind the past month or two, but I wasn't really thinking about it. I was mostly thinking about playing here at Boston College, and the Frozen Four. As soon as that ended I had to flip the switch and think about what I wanted to do moving forward. I felt that I was ready to make the jump into my next challenge."
Tuch, a 6-foot-4, 225 pound right-shot is a player the Wild projects to be a power forward, the likes of which are coveted at the NHL level.
"It's just difficult to find players with his size and skill level," Fletcher said. "He can protect the puck well down low, he has good hands around the net, and he can score goals. Like every team, we're obviously looking to upgrade our size and skill, and Alex brings both of those elements to the table."
Tuch said he matured as both a player and a person in his second season at Chestnut Hill. He got off to a slow start, on the heels of recovering from an offseason knee injury, which healed just before Tuch went back to Boston from his native New York.
"My last month or two has probably been my best I've had at Boston College so far," Tuch said. "The experience I had playing for Boston College, training during the summer last summer after Development Camp, and even some of my failures such as getting cut from World Juniors and not getting invited to that have really made me mature as a person, and as a player.
"I've learned from my mistakes and my successes."
Fletcher said he's also noticed Tuch has improved in some of the small details of his game.
"His game has just evolved in college," Fletcher said. "Jerry York and the coaching staff at BC has worked hard with Alex with respect to his game away from the puck, and playing sound, positional hockey. Working on stops and starts, and managing the puck better in certain situations, and those areas have improved."
Tuch joins a group of recent first-round Wild draft picks that includes Joel Eriksson Ek (2015), Matt Dumba (2012), Jonas Brodin (2010), and Mikael Granlund (2009) to have gone on and signed with the Wild.
"Our scouting staff has done a good job of drafting players," Fletcher said. "I've certainly traded away some of our picks the past few years, and I haven't given them as many bullets with which to work, but they've done a great job of delivering on the picks that I've left them, and in particular our first round picks have been really strong."
Like every player to have come to North America on that list, Tuch is hoping to follow in their footsteps and make his NHL debut in Minnesota. Tuch is eligible to practice with the Minnesota Wild's Black Aces, but cannot play in a 2016 Stanley Cup Playoff game.
But he already has his sights set on making the roster come the 2016-17 season.
"I hope I'm ready to make the jump," he said. "I'm going to work as hard as possible to play for a spot in the Fall, and we'll see where it takes me."