What can the Wild get with the No. 12 pick? ‘A very good player’

Published 8:15 am Friday, June 21, 2019

By Dane Mizutani

Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — It’s clear Wild general manager Paul Fenton still feels like he’s cleaning up a mess made by former general manager Chuck Fletcher.

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As Fenton continues to obliterate the roster Fletcher constructed, far from tweaks at this point, he has placed an added emphasis on this weekend’s NHL Draft as a bridge to the future.

“We keep referring to it as restocking our cupboard,” Fenton said, perhaps referencing how Fletcher consistently traded away draft picks during his time in the Twin Cities, and how the current prospect pool is lacking because of it. “I’ve always believed in building through the draft. That’s what we’re going to do.”

Nevermind the fact that Fenton shipped off Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund at the trade deadline. While he’s been a lightning rod for criticism because of those moves, it’s the moves he chose not to make, he claims, that show how serious he is about his vision.

“I think the most important thing was continuing to save our draft picks to make sure we had a full draft,” Fenton explained. “Honestly, when Matt Dumba went down, for specific, we didn’t go out and fill that hole. In the past, that probably would’ve cost us an asset,and I wouldn’t be sitting here saying that we’re picking No. 12 and we’re going to get something that we’re really happy about. That’s the difference.”

In the end, the Wild are left with eight picks heading into the two-day NHL Draft that starts on Friday night at Rogers Arena. It’s a deep prospect pool, according to Fenton, and the Wild feel good about where they stand.

“I’ve had plenty of years where I’m picking at a certain spot and only had X amount of players and we hold our breath until the very end and say, ‘I don’t know if we’re going to get this guy,’ “ Fenton said. “I’ve had it happen before where the guy that we wanted has gone right before we go.

“This year I can confidently say at No. 12 that we are going to get a very good player.”

Overall, there’s not much clarity other than the fact that Jack Hughes will go No. 1 to the New Jersey Devils and Kaapo Kakko will go No. 2 to the New York Rangers, or vice versa.

It’s a crapshoot after that, and that could be a good thing for Minnesota. The Wild will take the best player available, Fenton said, and he will be good.


• First round: 12 overall

• Second round: 42 overall

• Third round: 73

• Fourth round: 99

• Fifth round: 149

• Sixth round: 166

• Sixth round: 172

• Seventh round: 197

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