When the Las Vegas Golden Knights held their Expansion Draft last June, it was well documented the Wild were going to lose a player of significant importance.
Instead of losing a player for nothing, Minnesota struck a trade with Las Vegas, sending Erik Haula and one of their top prospects, Alex Tuch, in return for a future mid-round draft pick.
Tuch was a first-round pick by the Wild in 2014, and it looks like he could be a top player for the Golden Knights this season.
Jesse Granger of the Las Vegas Sun reports that Tuch has ascended from being a fringe roster player, and instead, is in consideration for a top-six role.
A Force on the power play
At six-foot-four and 222 pounds, Tuch is a big body who likes to be in front of the net. He's even spent time on the team's first power-play unit during the preseason.
“Me and the guys joke around that that’s my home,” Tuch said to Granger about screening goaltenders. “That’s my home. That’s my office. That’s where I do most of my work."
Vegas saw something special
As Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher told the Pioneer Press in June, Las Vegas was very high on Tuch in the days leading up to the Expansion Draft.
The 21-year-old spent the majority of last season at the AHL level, where he registered 37 points – 18 goals – in 57 games. He made his NHL debut last season with the Wild, but skated in just six games and failed to tally a point.
Why didn't he fit in here?
Because other prospects were emerging – Joel Eriksson Ek and Luke Kunin – and since Minnesota had to resign Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund, Tuch was deemed expendable.
However for the Wild's sake, hopefully Tuch doesn't turn into the superstar. Because it's arguably the last remaining ingredient the team needs to be considered a serious Stanley Cup contender.