And so the Minnesota Wild’s miraculous run has finally come to an end after an incredible end to the season which made the Wild one of the best teams in the NHL in the second half of the season.
But what a dramatic and catastrophic end it was. The Minnesota Wild went up against the Chicago Blackhawks for the third straight postseason. After losing in 5 games in 2013 and in 6 games in 2014, most critics expected a very close and hard fought series. Boy, were they wrong.
End of a Wild Run
Minnesota could not get a timely bounce nor lock down they own end as they had been doing since the All Star break. The result was an utterly embarrassing sweep to their rivals. The only hot spot in the series was the play of Zach Parise, who was easily the Wild’s most consistent and competitive player throughout the entire year.
Devan Dubnyk didn’t look like the Vezina Trophy finalist we had become accustomed to. Their defensive core was broken down by the Blackhawks depth, skill and speed. For some reason, the Minnesota Wild could not muster anything against the Chicago team they were 2-0-0 against since acquiring Dubnyk.
This series certainly raises tons of questions as the Minnesota Wild now pack up and head into the offseason. This team was meant to be in a ‘win now’ state of mind, but simply isn’t getting the job done thus far. Although they already have a new core coming into place, there is no superstar coming up to replace the scoring they could lose over the next several years due to aging. First things first, the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
Who Should Minnesota Eye at the 2015 NHL Draft?
With the Minnesota Wild now officially slotted in with the 20th overall pick in the first round, we can take a very realistic look at who they will likely call on on draft day.
The Minnesota Wild hold the 20th, 50th, 110th, 170th, 200th, and 203rd overall picks, as of May 9th.
The Wild are in a very tricky position when it comes to their top two selections, at 20 and 50. Although this draft is being hugely worked up due to the generational talents in the top two of Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, it is not nearly as deep as the 2003 NHL Draft, which many have been comparing it to. There are major drop-offs after the 10th, 20th and 50th overall selections.
That presents some difficulty to the Wild who are on the cusp of those drop-offs. No doubt, there are still some spectacular prospects available for them. We’ll take a look at who they will likely have to choose from.
Best case scenario, the Minnesota Wild could select Travis Konecny at 20th overall. He had 68 points in 60 games this season for the Ottawa 67’s of the OHL. Although he is smaller in stature at 5’10, the centerman has an unbelievable work ethic that is very comparable to that of Zach Parise’s. That characteristic combined with strong skating and an NHL calibre shot would make him a fantastic selection at 20th overall.
With the 50th overall pick, the Minnesota Wild should pray and also prepare to trade up in order to draft another center in Anthony Beauvillier. Playing for the Shawinigan Cataractes of the QMJHL, he put up 94 points in 67 games this year. Like Konecny, he has terrific leadership ability already and sees the ice very well, opening up scoring chances most players couldn’t find. He has a drive of the net and is a very natural goal scorer.
Who do you think the Wild should draft at 20th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft?
Contributor for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Prospects. Scout with the Oakville Blades of the OJHL. For questions, concerns, or comments, contact me at email@example.com or on twitter @SlawsonTHW.