The Minnesota Wild is a franchise in contention for the Stanley Cup this season and for the foreseeable future, even though it lacks the star power of some other contenders. Its success over seasons past has meant few lottery picks, but the team has also been notably light in drafting from the CHL in the course of its history. After being burned by CHL players from Benoit Pouliot to Colton Gillies to James Sheppard to Tyler Cuma to Zack Phillips to Alexandre Belanger – drafted in 2013 and already out of the system – maybe that aversion is justifiable.
Despite a year that didn’t see the Czech Republic get much done internationally at the junior level, the 2015 NHL Draft saw a total of 11 Czech players taken by NHL teams, albeit the top three of Pavel Zacha (6th overall), Jakub Zboril (13th), and Filip Chlapik (48th) having spent this past season strutting their stuff in North America. Read more»
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.