After just barely sneaking into the playoffs and having a quick first round exit, the Minnesota Wild will have the 15th pick in the upcoming NHL draft. The will held in Buffalo, New York on June 24. Minnesota could go many different ways in this year’s draft but here is five players to keep your eye on when the Wild are on the clock.
Kieffer Bellows 6’0” 195lbs Center/Left Wing USA NTDP (USHL)
Lets start our potential draft picks out with Kieffer Bellow, the kids with many Minnesota ties. Bellows is a native of Edina, Minnesota and his father, Brian Bellows, was drafted second overall by the Minnesota North Stars in 1982. Could Kieffer follow right in his father’s footsteps? It’s possible. Bellows is a strong power forward who protects the puck well. He has strong shot and is competitor that is hungry to score goals for his team. Bellows had a huge impact with the Sioux Falls Stampede when they won the Clark Cup last season. This year, he played for the National Development Team and tallied over 50 goals. As we have seen in recent years, the Wild love to draft big power forwards and Bellows is exactly that. He will be heading to Boston University next year and will be playing along side will draftee Jordan Greenway.
NHL Comparison: Drew Stafford (Winnipeg Jets)
Tyson Jost 5”11’ 190lbs Center Pentiction Vees (BCHL)
Tyson Jost is my favorite on this list of prospects but I think it is wishful thinking that he will still be available at the 15th pick. Jost is shifty skater with some of the best hand in the draft. He has high hockey IQ and always knows where he needs to be on the ice. He was the captain for the Pentiction Vees this season and put up 104 points in just 48 games. After his remarkable year, Jost was named the Canadian Junior Hockey Player of the Year. Jost also was the captain for Team Canada at the 18U World Junior Championship (WJC). All he did there was tallied 15 points in just seven games. The kid is a point machine and could be a dynamic goal scorer in the NHL. Jost will be heading to the powerhouse, University of North Dakota next season. The Wild could use some flashiness to their lineup and Jost would be a perfect fit if he falls to the 15th selection.
NHL Comparison: Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins)
Dante Fabbro 6’0” 195lbs Defensemen Pentiction Vees (BCHL)
I think it is unlike that the Wild will select a defensemen in the first round but if they do it could be Tyson Jost’s teammate, Dante Fabbro. Fabbro is a two-way defensemen with huge offensive upside. He had 67 points in 45 games for the Vees. He is a very poise player and a great decision-maker. He plays like a quartback on ice. Fabbro is a complete defensemen who could become a difference maker at the NHL level. Next year, Fabrro will be heading to Boston University along with Bellows (Watch out for the Terriers next season).
NHL Comparison: Tyson Barrie (Colorado Avalanche)
Luke Kunin 5’11” 190lbs Center University of Wisconsin (NCAA)
To see our next prospect, just take a short drive over to Madison, Wisconsin, where Luke Kunin just finished up his freshman year. Kunin put together 32 points in 34 games on a Wisconsin team that struggled all season. He is a gifted offensive player with some flashy hands. He loves to go to the dirty areas and battle for loose pucks. He has great awareness of the ice and a quick shot. He needs to become more explosive and continue to grow muscle but a couple more years at Wisconsin will do just that.
NHL Comparison: Joe Pavelski (San Jose Sharks)
Julien Gauthier 6’3” 230 Right Wing Val-d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL)
The last player on my list of prospects is Julien Gauthier. The first thing you notice is his size, 6’3 230. This is a big boy and uses his frame very well. This season in the QMJHL, Gauthier had 57 points in 54 games. He has a hard-nose work ethic and loves to get to the front of the net. Gauthier loves pressure and plays well in big games. He uses long strides to create his speed and is an impressive skater. Gauthier is a natural goal-scorer but needs to improve in the defensive zone. He is a strong competitor who will do anything for his team to help them win.
NHL Comparison: Rick Nash (New York Rangers)
The NHL Draft is just a few weeks away and the prospects talks is heating up! Who do you want the Minnesota Wild to take? Let me know!