The Minnesota Wild organization does things just a little differently than other teams. Rather than relying heavily on the CHL or the European leagues, the Wild has drafted many players bound for U.S. colleges in recent years. This affords the team additional flexibility with contracts and salary while also potentially yielding professional assets who may have had a longer developmental timeframe (Erik Haula is the big success story so far).
Last season was a special year for the teams that call the WHL‘s Eastern Conference home.
First, Eastern Conference fans in Prince Albert, SK and Red Deer, AB got to see their teams square off in a thrilling, winner take all match to determine who would play the Edmonton Oil Kings in the first round of the playoffs. Read more»
Listing the Minnesota Wild‘s Top 20 Prospect Group is a more difficult exercise this fall, with a fairly clear-cut top four (including Erik Haula, who should graduate soon) followed by another 20 or so players with only a little separation. The Wild also added a lot of new blood to bolster the farm system, pushing some familiar names out of the Top 20.
Though there was talk of somehow reacquiring a second round pick, the Minnesota Wild had limited assets to offer as enticement. Chuck Fletcher did pick up an additional seventh round pick in 2015 in exchange for moving down one pick, but in the end the braintrust seemed content to stick with its hand in Philadelphia.
The Vancouver Canucks figure to have a new look in the coming years with new general manager Jim Benning and a new head coach in Willie Desjardins. The makeover in Vancouver started on Friday afternoon even before the 2014 NHL Draft began when the Canucks engineered a series of trades — one of which sent veteran Ryan Kesler to the Anaheim Ducks in a multi-player deal.