Photo: Joel Eriksson Ek, selected 20th overall at the 2015 NHL draft, becomes the Wild’s top center prospect (courtesy of Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Coming into the 2015 NHL Draft the Minnesota Wild‘s prospect pool was one of the league’s weakest thanks to a combination of graduations, misses at the 2011 NHL draft, bewildering picks in other recent draft classes, valuable picks (especially the 2013 first-rounder) sent away for established players, and lack of late-round successes lately. The team needs to win more than one playoff round to justify such costly gambles, but it seemed to readjust its prospect development strategy for this draft. Moving away from drafting players with limited ability and upside is a major step in the right direction.
Photo: Minnesota Wild prospect Alex Tuch, taken in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft, led Boston College in scoring as a freshman (courtesy of Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
The Wild seemed to take a step forward in 2014-15 though it took nearly the whole season to clinch its wild-card berth in a very tough division and conference. The team overcame, individually and collectively, a series of obstacles that could have devastated men of less character. The Wild managed to beat a St. Louis Blues team many thought capable of winning it all, but faltered against an experienced Chicago Blackhawks squad whose top talent overwhelmed the Wild’s in a clean sweep en route to its third Stanley Cup in six years.
Photo: 2015 NHL Draft prospects (front l-r) Mitch Marner and Lawson Crouse, and (back I-r) Noah Hanifin, Jack Eichel, Connor McDavid, and Dylan Strome are players expected to be chosen at the top of the draft being held in Sunrise, FL on 6/26 & 27 (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Just like that, another year is over. The Chicago Blackhawks have won their third Stanley Cup in six years, elevating the team’s exciting roster to dynasty status. For the rest of the league, the 2015 NHL Draft now looms large on the calendar, taking place June 26th and 27th at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. Read more»
Photo: 2010 first-round pick Mikael Granlund was the first elite talent drafted by the Minnesota Wild since Brent Burns in 2003 (courtesy of Brad Rempel/Icon Sportswire)
It is not much exaggeration to say that the 2010 NHL Draft is the most important event in the brief history of the Minnesota Wild thus far. Not just the players drafted, but also those subsequently acquired, have transformed the Wild into a Stanley Cup contender. The young franchise risked stagnation, a victim of middling finishes and some notable draft misses. Read more»
Photo: Arizona Coyotes prospect Anthony Duclair was originally drafted by the New York Rangers, but was dealt to the Coyotes in the March 2nd deal that brought Keith Yandle to the Rangers (courtesy of Dan Hamilton/Icon Sportswire)
The Spring edition of the Hockey’s Future ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects begins with the prospects ranked 41 thru 50. This section of the ranking features prospects at various levels of their development, including a few who saw some time in the NHL during the 2014-15 season. Read more»