August 32-in-32: Minnesota Wild

Nate Villa

2022-08-14

Minnesota Wild logo courtesy of 365twincities.com

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!

The Minnesota Wild had a strong 2021-22 campaign that saw them finish with 113 points, good enough for second place in their Central Division. This led to a competitive match-up with the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the 2022 NHL playoffs, where they were unfortunately beaten in six games. Despite the first-round exit, there is strong optimism surrounding the young club, however general manager Bill Guerin had a lot of work to do over the summer ahead of the 2022-23 season. 

Due to the bought-out contracts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, totaling nearly 13 million dollars in dead cap space, the Minnesota Wild will be struggling to stay cap-compliant for the next couple seasons. Adding to this, when players have great seasons, they are often rewarded with improved contracts. Kevin Fiala was the perfect example this off-season when the Wild had to trade him as his next contract asking price exceeded the cap space they had. They managed to receive defensive prospect Brock Faber, as well as the 19th overall pick in the 2022 NHL draft from the Los Angeles Kings, however, they lost a point per game top-six forward in his prime. 

Minnesota’s wild off-season also included a goalie controversy. By resigning Marc-Andre Fleury to a two-year $7-million-dollar contract, Cam Talbot requested a trade to get more playing time. An exchange was made with the Ottawa Senators to trade Talbot in exchange for a young up-and-coming goalie, Filip Gustavsson. 

With rumors swirling around Kirill Kaprizov’s ability to play in the NHL next season due to the political situation with Russia being exaggerated, the Wild will be looking to stay competitive with a roster built to win now. It will be challenging to replace Kevin Fiala, but the Wild have a strong prospect pool and players such as Matthew Boldy that have already contributed at the NHL level. It will be difficult to replicate the season they had in the 2021-22 season, especially without the cap flexibility they desire, but if the incoming rookies can step up, then Minnesota should comfortably remain a playoff team. 

Now, let’s talk about the NHL Draft.

The Draft

Due to having a strong 2021-22 season, the Minnesota Wild finished with the 24th overall selection in the first round of the 2022 NHL draft. As a result of the aforementioned Kevin Fiala trade, Minnesota was able to acquire the 19th overall pick from the Los Angeles Kings. This gave the Wild two mid-round picks in a relatively deep draft. Although this draft lacked the elite game-breaking talent at the top, it was relatively strong with many gems accessible in each round. 

Additionally, the Wild owned two picks (picks #47 and #56) in the second round, as well as one pick in each of the remaining rounds except for round seven. This means that the Wild had a total of eight selections in the 2022 NHL draft to build upon an already strong prospect pool. 

Round One, 19th Overall – Liam Ohgren, LW

The Wild started off the draft with the 19th overall selection that they acquired from the Los Angeles