December 31-in-31: Minnesota Wild

Sam Happi

2020-12-15

Minnesota Wild logo courtesy of 365twincities.com

The Wild head into an important transition year with an excellent group of prospects, headlined by tenured elite prospect Kirill Kaprizov and recent 9th overall pick Marco Rossi. Both players could find themselves in impact roles next season, and the Wild have additional high-level reinforcements on their way in Matthew Boldy and Adam Beckman on longer-term schedules. This is a team with some serious talent on its way that could be reasonably competitive next season, but there are some serious question marks, especially at the center position.

 

Minnesota has a handful of prospects currently playing in Europe on loan while North American hockey remains on hold. Alexander Khovanov was demoted to Russia’s second-tier professional league after going pointless in seven KHL games. His 15 points in 14 games is one of the highest rates of production in that circuit. Brennan Menell has found more success in Russia, currently sitting second in KHL defenceman scoring with 21 points in 24 games. Menell is an unsigned restricted free agent that won’t be eligible to return to North American until the expiration of his one-year KHL contract, if at all, but the Wild hold his NHL rights if he chooses to return next year. Ivan Lodnia, who aged out of the OHL last year, has five points in 21 Russian professional games and has flashed some impressive skills over that time.

 

Top prospect Marco Rossi was loaned to the ZSC Lions in Switzerland, where he played junior hockey until moving to North America for his draft season. He debuted for the club on October 30, but he hasn’t played since. It was recently announced that he’ll represent Austria at the World Juniors in Edmonton before joining the Wild for training camp. 2019 first-round pick has gotten into some NCAA action after the Hockey East conference recently resumed play and currently leads all players in college hockey in points per game with eight in just four games.

 

Graduating Players

 

Carson Soucy, LHD

Soucy broke into a full-time role as a third-pairing defenceman with the Wild and earned a three-year contract extension, signalling Minnesota’s long-term interest in keeping him around.

 

Risers

Matthew Boldy: After a slow start to his NCAA career in the first half of last season, Boldy was terrific in the second part of the year and looks to have continued that progression early in 2020-21. He might be the best player in all of college hockey so far in the young campaign.

 

 

Brennan Menell: Menell has now strung together two very successful AHL seasons, as well as an extremely promising start in the KHL, the second best league in the world. He’s not under NHL contract and won’t play in the league this season, but Menell looks ready for more major league opportunity than the five games he played last year. He could be a candidate for a full-time NHL role in 2021-22.

 

Jack McBain: Minnesota’s 2018 3rd rounder looks like he may have finally taken that big jump forward at the NCAA level, currently sitting at 5 points in 4 games in his junior season after gradual progression from his freshman to sophomore year. McBain was seen as a high-level prospect coming out of the OJHL back in his draft season, but he hadn’t demonstrated any kind of significant upside until his hot start this year.

 

Fallers

Alexander Khovanov: Khovanov is doing very well in the VHL, but his inability to establish a full-time role in the KHL after a promising QMJHL career. The Russian’s two-way game and discipline have long been issues and it looks to be affecting his opportunity at a key point in his career.

 

Filip Johansson: Johansson is seventeen games into another season with no signs of offensive turnaround in sight. His defensive game is solid, sure, but the Swede has 12 total points since being drafted in the first round by the Wild in 2018. It’s looking quite safe to say that Johansson won’t be much of an offensive contributor if he does crack the NHL.

 

Prospect Depth Chart

Note that the order here weighs upside more heavily than NHL readiness. Nico Sturm, for example, is closer to the NHL than Marat Khusnutdinov, but the latter has a greater chance of contributing in a more important role.

 

LW

Kirill Kaprizov

Matthew Boldy

Adam Beckman

Vladislav Firstov

 

C

Marco Rossi

Marat Khusnutdinov

Nico Sturm

Alexander Khovanov

Connor Dewar

Damien Giroux

Nikita Nesterenko

Matvei Guskov

Jack McBain

Mason Shaw

 

RW

Pavel Novak

Ivan Lodnia

Dmitri Sokolov

Will Bitten

Brandon Duhaime

Mitchell Chaffee

 

LD

Marshall Warren

Ryan O’Rourke

Daemon Hunt

Fedor Gordeev

 

RD

Calen Addison

Brennan Menell

Louie Belpedio

Filip Johansson

Simon Johansson

 

G

Kaapo Kahkonen

Hunter Jones

Mat Robson

Filip Lindberg

 

Top 20 Prospects

  1. Kirill Kaprizov

  2. Marco Rossi

  3. Matthew Boldy

  4. Adam Beckman

  5. Marat Khusnutdinov

  6. Marshall Warren

  7. Calen Addison

  8. Kaapo Kahkonen

  9. Ryan O’Rourke

  10. Nico Sturm

  11. Alexander Khovanov

  12. Brennan Menell

  13. Vladislav Firstov

  14. Pavel Novak

  15. Ivan Lodnia

  16. Connor Dewar

  17. Louie Belpedio

  18. Damien Giroux

  19. Nikita Nesterenko

  20. Filip Johansson

LATEST PROFILE UPDATES

Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Lukas Svejkovsky 3.0 2.5
Filip Lindberg 4.0 3.5
Boris Katchouk 6.5 6.5
Ty Voit 7.5 6.5
Nick Robertson 8.5 9.5
Rasmus Sandin 8.0 10.0
Mikko Kokkonen 6.0 8.5
Semyon Der-Arguchintsev 7.0 6.5
Mikhail Abramov 7.0 6.5
Pontus Holmberg 7.0 7.5

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