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Wild selects Tyler Cuma with 23rd pick

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild
OTTAWA, Ontario -- The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Minnesota Wild selected defenseman Tyler Cuma with the 23rd overall pick in tonight’s first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ontario. The Wild acquired the 23rd overall pick from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Minnesota’s 24th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry and a third round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

“We're delighted to select Tyler,” said Assistant General Manager/Player Personnel Tom Thompson. “He is a quality two-way defenseman who hopefully can become a cornerstone of our hockey club as he develops. His level of play continued to improve through the year, and he was outstanding in the World Under-18 Championship, where his team won the gold medal.”

Cuma, 18 (1/19/90), recorded 32 points (4-28=32) and 69 penalty minutes (PIM) in 59 games during his second season with the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in 2007-08.  The 6-foot-2, 180-pound native of Toronto, Ontario finished second on his team among defenseman in scoring, notched two power play goals and one game-winning marker and was the only Ottawa rearguard to finish with a positive plus-minus rating (+4). Cuma earned a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2008 IIHF Under-18 World Championships collecting four points (1-3=4) in seven games. He was named Ottawa’s Rookie of the Year in 2006-07 after posting 19 points (3-16=19) in 63 matches.  Cuma was the 19th ranked North American skater in the draft by the Central Scouting Service.

NHL Director of Central Scouting, E.J. McGuire on Tyler Cuma:

“Tyler is an offensive defenseman, really adept at knowing when to pass the puck out of the zone or to put the wheels on and carry the puck out of the zone. He helps the Ottawa 67’s power play from the point and is really reliable. I find him to be equally adept at the defensive game as well as the offensive game, yet I find him to be more closely aligned with an offensive defenseman-type player.”

Ottawa 67's Head Coach Brian Kilrea on Tyler Cuma:

“Tyler is a very strong skater and will be an exceptional NHL player. He is one of the most dedicated players that I have ever coached. He started training immediately after our season ended last year to get ready for this season. He is very solid at both ends of the rink including having to defend against the opposition's top players every game.”

The Wild currently owns three picks: #55 (Round 2), #115 (Round 4) and #145 (Round 5) in rounds 2-7 of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft which starts Saturday at 9:00 a.m.

MORE ...

* PONDcast: Wild Radio's Kevin Falness learns more about Cuma
* PONDcast: Falness catches up with Tommy Thompson after Round 1
* Cuma action photo gallery Cuma multimedia bio (video highlights, photos, quotes and more)
* Cuma seeks heights (feature)

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