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Minnesota Wild select Tuch in the first round of the 2014 draft

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The Minnesota Wild selected Alex Tuch with the 18th pick in the 2014 NHL draft. General manager Chuck Fletcher was reportedly working the phones, but ultimately decided to keep the pick and take the big power forward from the United States development team.

Tuch, a 6-foot-4-inch, 213-pound right-handed shooting wing and center from Baldwinsville, NY, scored 28 goals and added 32 assists in 53 games for the Under-18 team of the United States Hockey League.

“He’s a big body and that’s something you can’t teach,” said Greg Rajanen of NHL Central Scouting. “He’s got some grit to his game, is good around the net and physical.”

The Central Scouting Service ranked Tuch as the 12th best North American skater, TSN ranks him as the 17th best prospect overall and the International Scouting Service ranked him as the 14th best prospect overall.

“A physically assertive, rugged winger who contributes offensively,” said TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button. “Difficult to play against and he is competitive, determined and his development has been excellent. Pushes his way into demanding areas and makes an impact.”

The Wild have added size in recent drafts and now have a stable of big, young forwards. In addition to Tuch, the Wild have nine forwards 6-2 or taller and under 25-years-old in the organization; Charlie Coyle (6-3, 22) and Nino Niederreiter (6-2, 21) already in the NHL, and Brett Bulmer (6-4, 22), Raphael Bussieres (6-2, 20), Kurtis Gabriel (6-4, 21), Adam Gilmour (6-4, 20), Tyler Graovac (6-5, 21), Mario Lucia (6-3, 20) and Avery Peterson (6-3, 19) waiting in the wings.

Tuch is committed to play for the Boston College Eagles this fall, where he will be teammates with Gilmour.