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Nick Leddy

Nick Leddy

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What's this?Please select....Baseball TicketsNBA TicketsNFL TicketsNASCAR TicketsWWE TicketsGolf TicketsTennis Tickets Wild take Eden Prairie D LeddyPosted | Comment | Recommend E-mail | Save | Print | By Jon Krawczynski, AP Sports WriterMINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher's first draft pick in his new job will make quite an impression with fans in the state of hockey.After trading down from the 12th overall pick to No.

16, Fletcher chose defenseman Nick Leddy, who was named Mr.

Hockey in Minnesota last season.Leddy is a puck-moving defenseman who led Eden Prairie high school to the big-school state championship last season."It's going to be awesome," Leddy said of joining the team that plays just about 20 minutes from where he grew up.

"I've watched those guys my whole life."Fletcher took over for the fired Doug Risebrough in May.

Risebrough was often resistant to drafting Minnesota-born players, something that irked the passionate local fan base.Prior to the draft, Fletcher said that where a player is from should not have a bearing on their evaluations.

But he also acknowledged the unique situation of being in a state that has such a rich hockey tradition."We can't worry about where a player is from in terms of decision making but we should have tremendous local resources here throughout the state and hopefully that will help us identify local players or collegiate players in general," Fletcher said.

"And certainly that's an area that I'm going to look into and certainly should be part of the equation."When the Wild came on the clock with the 12th pick, some thought they would take University of Minnesota forward Jordan Schroeder.

But after the team had just four picks in last year's draft, Fletcher also wanted to stockpile selections to replenish a depleted farm system.So Fletcher traded the 12th pick to the New York Islanders for the 16th, 77th and 182nd picks.

The Wild will have seven picks in rounds 2-7 on Saturday.The highly regarded Schroeder was also on the board when the Wild picked at 16, and Leddy said he thought that was where Minnesota was going to go.

But they took the 5-11 defenseman over the high-scoring, 5-8 center.It's been quite a year for Leddy, who won that prestigious state championship and then get drafted by his hometown team."It's been unbelievable," Leddy said.

"I couldn't have asked for any better of a season."Schroeder, who is from the Twin Cities suburb of Burnsville, fell to division rival Vancouver at No.

22."I've heard nothing but good things about their organization," Schroeder said.

"Very fortunate to go there and can't wait to meet their fans."Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.Posted E-mail | Save | Print | To report corrections and clarifications, contact Reader Editor Brent Jones.

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http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/nhl/2009-06-26-1965387063_x.htm
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