Wild signs Cuma; 17 Elite League players taken in Draft; Best of the Rest

Posted on July 10th, 2009 – 7:55 AM
By Michael Russo

(UPDATED)

As I mentioned yesterday, the Wild has signed Tyler Cuma to a three-year, $2.625 million contract plus standard entry-level contract bonuses. If he doesn’t make the team in the fall, the contract slides a year, as does his seven-year free-agent clock.

“We are delighted to have Tyler Cuma as a member of the Minnesota Wild organization,” said Assistant General Manager/Player Personnel Tom Thompson. “He possesses all of the attributes necessary to be a quality defenseman in the modern day NHL. Tyler is an exceptional skater, both forward and backward. He is intelligent, aggressive and poised. From watching him at our summer development camp, it is clear that he has made a complete recovery from last season’s knee surgery.”
 
Cuma, 19 (1/19/90), was the Wild’s first-round pick (No.23 overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He recorded nine points (1-8=9) and 27 penalty minutes in 21 games for the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in 2008-09. Cuma, who participated in the Team Canada World Junior Selection Camp last season, underwent season-ending knee surgery in February. The 6-foot-2, 192-pound Cuma has posted 60 points (8-52=60) and 141 PIM in 143 career games over three seasons in Ottawa. 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.

In the meantime, here’s a look at the Best of the Rest. You’ll see guys like Alex Tanguay, Jason Williams and Mike Comrie still available. Wait a little more and somebody might be able to get Tanguay at a bargain price. On the blue line, Martin Skoula (most games of any NHL defensemen his age or younger) and Marc-Andre Bergeron (62 career goals, 14 last year). Think Skoula becomes a Devil if Jacques Lemaire goes there? Did the Devils hire a coach while I’ve been gone???????

Also, I meant to throw this on the blog after the Draft, but I forgot.

A record 17 former players from the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League were chosen in the National Hockey League’s Entry Draft, held June 26-27 in Montreal.

Nick Leddy of Eden Prairie (#16, Minnesota Wild) and Jordan Schroeder of the University of Minnesota (#22, Vancouver) were first-round selections, with the remaining players chosen in subsequent rounds. The NHL draft consists of seven rounds and was conducted over two days.

Edina’s Zack Budish (#41, Nashville) was chosen in the second round, while Ben Hanowski of Little Falls (#63, Pittsburgh), Josh Birkholz of Maple Grove (#67, Florida), Troy Hesketh of Minnetonka (#71, Edmonton), Dan DeLisle of Arden Hills (#89, Chicago) and Mike Lee of Roseau (#91, Phoenix)  were chosen in the third round.

This is the second consecutive NHL draft in which the Elite League reached double-digits in the number of players selected. Last year 10 Elite League alumni were selected, including four in the first two rounds

In addition to their first-round selection of Leddy, the Minnesota Wild reached into the Elite League for two other players, Swedish forward Alexander Fallstrom (#116) and Finnish winger Erik Haula. Both Fallstrom and Haula competed for the Shattuck-St. Mary’s team in the Elite League, the eventual champion of the Bauer National Invitational Tournament which culminates league action.

“We want to congratulate all of our players who were selected,” said Elite League Commissioner and founder John Russo. “The Elite League coaches and staff work hard to provide young hockey players with an opportunity to showcase their skills in front of scouts and college coaches, and the 2009 NHL Draft is a real tribute to our league, and to the dedication of these players.”

The Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League is a non-profit hockey league designed to provide high-level competition supplementing the regular high school hockey season. For more information, and draft-day updates, visit the league’s website at www.hselitehockey.com.  The league’s 2009 season will begin in September.
FORMER ELITE LEAGUE PLAYERS SELECTED
IN THE 2009 NHL ENTRY DRAFT

Draft Spot Skater Name Hometown 2008-09 Team Chosen By
    
16 Leddy, Nick  Eden Prairie, MN Eden Prairie HS Minnesota
22 Schroeder, Jordan Lakeville, MN University of Minnesota Vancouver
41 Budish, Zach  Edina, MN Edina HS Nashville
63 Hanowski, Ben Little Falls, MN Little Falls HS Pittsburgh
67 Birkholz, Josh  Maple Grove, MN Fargo USHL Florida
71 Troy Hesketh Minnetonka, MN Minnetonka HS Edmonton
89 DeLisle, Dan Arden Hills, MN Totino Grace HS Chicago
91 Lee, Mike Roseau, MN Fargo USHL Phoenix
110 Oliver, Nick Roseau, MN Roseau HS Nashville
114 Helgeson, Seth  Faribault, MN Sioux City USHL New Jersey
116 Fallstrom, Alexander Sweden Shattuck St. Mary’s Minnesota
146 Costello, Jeff Milwaukee, WI Cedar Rapids USHL Ottawa
150 Jensen, Nick Rogers, MN Green Bay USHL Detroit
152 Lee, Anders Edina, MN Edina HS NY Islanders
182 Haula, Erik Finland Shattuck St. Mary’s Minnesota
183 Gotovets, Kirill Ukraine Shattuck St. Mary’s Tampa Bay
202 Tardy, Max Duluth, MN Duluth East HS St. Louis

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