The 32-in-32 Series is an annual event here at DobberProspects! Every day in August we will be bringing you a complete breakdown of a team’s Draft, and insights into their off-season movements thus far. Following this up in September, we will dive into every team’s prospect depth charts with fantasy insights and implications for the upcoming seasons. Check back often, because we plan on filling your hockey withdrawal needs all off-season long!
If last season was any indication, the Minnesota Wild are finally out of mediocrity!
They became a very fun and scary team to watch, as they boast the likes of Calder winner, Kirill Kaprizov, and other players who had major breakout seasons. They finished third in the West division, behind the Colorado Avalanche and the Vegas Golden Knights, placing ninth overall in league-wide standings. Although they lost in seven games to the Knights, fans have lots to be excited about for the future of the organization.
Round One, 20th overall – Jesper Wallstedt, G
Nobody expected Wallstedt to fall down to Minnesota at 20th overall, as he had the upside of a franchise goaltender who can win a few Vezina Trophies down the road at the NHL level. He’s a calm, smart goaltender, who is good with his angles. He makes the goalie position look effortless as he possesses an excellent ability to track the puck and uses his 6-3 frame effectively and gives shooters very little to shoot at. His ability to play the puck essentially makes him an extra defenseman. He projects to be a franchise goalie in the NHL.
Round One, 26th overall – Carson Lambos, D
Although his draft year was somewhat lackluster, Lambos still brings strong upside to become a solid top-four defender. Lambos’ offensive and defensive game is hit or miss, yet, he has shown the ability to be a skillful rearguard who can use deception – such as head fakes or fake slapshot – as a way to create space for him to shoot the puck from the point. He covers the ice well in the defensive zone and uses his body to physically impose the opposition when needed.
Lambos will need to work on his skating technique, as he must retool his stride and his explosiveness. Decision-making is another area in need of improvement, as he often holds the puck for too long without making a decision. This often causes attackers to strip the puck away from him. He projects to be a really solid top-four defender.
Round Two, 54th overall – Jack Peart, D
An undersized, smooth-skating defenseman, who split some time this season with Fargo in the USHL and High School Hockey with Grand Rapids High. He has shown that his stick-handling ability, combined with his skating ability, can generate offensive chances and effective zone entries. He also displays good vision and passing skills.
Peart can start the transition game with a good first pass. Peart’s defensive game is not something to scoff at either, as He uses his strong skating to maintain good gap control against the rush. His strengths fall along the boards and his shot accuracy in the offensive zone. His projection is a top-four, who can provide some offense and defensive game.
Remaining Draft Selections
The Wild selected Caedan Banker with their 86th overall pick. He is a skilled playmaker, whose skating needs work in order to get an NHL roster spot. The projection for him is a bottom-six forward for the Wild.
Kyle Masters was the Wilds’ 118th overall pick. He is another smooth-skating defender with offensive instincts. He’s a guy who can play on the powerplay and can move the puck pretty well and create offensive chances. He projects to be a top-four defenceman who can quarterback a powerplay unit.
Josh Pillar, an overage from the Kamloops Blazers was the Wilds’ 127th overall pick. He’s a good forechecker and can see him as a bottom-six player.
The final selection for the Wild is defenceman Nate Beinot. He is a prototypical stay-at-home rearguard, who’s physicality is one of his biggest strengths. His puck-moving ability isn’t too bad either, and projects to fall within the top-six rotation.
Dmitry Kulikov (UFA)
Dominic Turgeon (UFA)
Jon Lizotte (UFA)
Frederick Gaudreau (UFA)
Alex Goligoski (UFA)
Kyle Rau (Resigned)
Andrew Hammond (Resigned)
Joseph Cramarossa (Resigned)
Nick Bjugstad (Resigned)
Joel Eriksson Ek (Resigned)
Carson Soucy (Expansion draft)
Zach Parise (Buyout)
Ryan Suter (Buyout)
This offseason was fairly uneventful as the Wild stuck to their usual core, re-signing and offering extensions to players already within their circuit. Dmitry Kulikov was a nice pickup to fill in the hole of Carson Soucy after he was taken by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft. They have also bought out both Ryan Suter and Zach Parise ( which could bite them in the butt in the future due to the dead cap space.)
The big off-season drama stems from their crossroads with star-studded forward, Kirill Kaprizov. Despite his Calder trophy rookie season, both parties remain in a contract standoff. While the Wild are fighting to lock him up long-term, it seems as though Kirill would like to bet on himself and take a shorter-term extension.
To make matters worse, his former KHL team CSKA Moscow has put a wrench in negotiations, offering him a hefty deal to return to the Russian league. While the NHL club remains confident that a deal gets done, it is certainly a sleepless process for both fans and fantasy owners alike. Kaprizov instantly sits as one of the organization’s most tantalizing players to date and is an obvious must-have for their immediate and long-term success.
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