The 2015 NHL Entry Draft is just around the corner, and the Minnesota Wild will soon acquire multiple new players – the first of which will be selected 20th overall. Now before getting to know Minnesota’s newest selections, take a look back at the Wild’s drafts from the past.
2014: Alex Tuch
In the most recent draft, Minnesota selected Alex Tuch with the 18th-overall pick. Tuch, a 6’3″, 208-pound right wing, finished his freshman season at Boston College this past spring.
In his first NCAA season, Tuch appeared in 37 games, scoring 14 goals and 14 assists to make him the Eagle’s second-leading scorer. He also participated in the World Junior Championship, playing for the United States. There he played five games and scored a goal and an assist.
Tuch made a solid transition to college hockey over this past year, demonstrating he can certainly play at a higher level. This kid has the size and skill to become a solid power forward for Minnesota. His stick handling and speed are good indicators that he could become a consistent scorer, which is something the Wild are in need of. Tuch still has three years of college hockey ahead of him, which is more than enough to fine-tune his skills and become a well-rounded player capable of succeeding at the NHL level.
Tuch is still extremely young, and it’s hard to predict exactly how good a player he will be based on one or two seasons, but from what we’ve seen so far, this pick has some serious talent.
2013: Gustov Olofsson
In the 2013 draft, the Wild did not have a first-round pick. They did, however, have the 46th-overall pick, which they used to select Gustov Olofsson, a defenceman out of Boras, Sweden.
Olofsson played for the Green Bay Gamblers, Colorado College and Sweden’s U20 team in the past. This last season, the defenceman was set to play his first season of professional hockey with the Iowa Wild, but he suffered a shoulder injury after appearing in only one game at the AHL level. The injury sidelined Olofsson for almost the entire season and was a huge setback for his professional development. However, Olofsson has demonstrated in previous years that he’s an extremely talented defender, and he has the ability to jump to a higher level while still maintaining solid play.
He may have missed all of last season, but I wouldn’t forget about Olofsson. This guy is 6’3″, 190 pounds and could easily provide the Wild blue line with the size it’s lacking. Not to mention, he’s a left-handed shot, something Minnesota has very few of. Nate Prosser, Matt Dumba, Jared Spurgeon and Christian Folin are all right-handed shots, and Jonas Brodin prefers the right side, as well. That gives Olofsson a big advantage over other defensive prospects. While he still needs to bulk up a bit before he can truly fill that role of big, physical defenceman, this guy shouldn’t be counted out just yet.
2012: Matt Dumba
Unlike Tuch and Olofsson, there’s no guesswork involved in determining whether Matt Dumba will find success in the NHL. This speedy defenceman emerged in a big way this past season and proved he’s here to stay.
After spending four years in the WHL with the Red Deer Rebels, Minnesota drafted Dumba seventh overall in the 2012 Entry Draft. Since 2012, Dumba bounced around between the Portland Winterhawks, the Houston Aeros/Iowa Wild and the Minnesota Wild.
Over this past season Dumba found his way in the NHL and became a solid fixture on Minnesota’s blue line. He’s nowhere near what he some day could become, but Dumba made huge progress this year. The Calgary native has serious offensive potential, which will most likely continue to develop as he becomes more comfortable at the NHL level.
2011: Jonas Brodin
As with Matt Dumba, there’s no need to guess with Jonas Brodin. The 6’1″, 194-pound defender has already found success with the Minnesota Wild.
Brodin spent three years in the SEL with Farjestads BK Karlstad before the Wild acquired him in 2011 with the 10th overall pick. The Swede then spent nine games in the AHL with the Houston Aeros before jumping to the NHL. Brodin hasn’t looked back since then.
The future looks brighter than the past for Brodin. Over the past season, he became one of Minnesota’s top three defencemen, proving the NHL is where he belongs. Brodin finished the season with 3 goals, 14 assists and a team-leading plus-21. He also signed a six-year extension, keeping him in a Wild sweater until 2020-21.
2010: Mikael Granlund
Drafted ninth overall in the 2010 Entry Draft, Mikael Granlund has shown he has the talent to become an NHL superstar in the future. Known for his insane lacross-style goal in the 2011 IIHF World Championship game versus Russia, Granlund hasn’t shown the same flare on North American soil.
Granlund certainly has talent and the ability to become a superstar. The 23-year-old just seems to have struggled adapting to a different style of hockey. Granlund has yet to put up big numbers with the Wild, but he’s shown he has huge potential.
Granlund becomes a restricted free agent this year, meaning he has limited time to show the Minnesota Wild he is still capable of becoming the goal-scoring whiz they drafted back in 2010. (Speaking of goal-scoring whizzes, Minnesota also drafted Jason Zucker this year with the 59th overall selection.)
So there’s a review of some of Minnesota’s former draft selections. Now you’re fully prepared for this year’s draft. Who do you think the Minnesota Wild should select at 20th overall?
Alli covers the Minnesota Wild and has been a contributing writer with THW since August 2014. She is currently a journalism and sports management student at the University of Minnesota. For all of your Minnesota Wild news and updates, follow her on twitter: @allibaker23