For any Wild fan who watched the 1st round with the hope the team would somehow make a deal they were left disappointed Friday night. Beyond the seemingly desperate moves Chicago made to ship off Niklas Hjlamarsson, Artemi Parnarin, Tyler Motte for what amounts to Connor Murphy, Brandon Saad and Anton Forsberg the night was pretty uneventful overall. Wild fans were probably mostly relieved and a little confused to see that the Blues managed to snag one more 1st round draft pick (albeit 31st Overall) for dealing tough guy Ryan Reaves after having acquired Brayden Schenn in an earlier deal with Philadelphia. The Wild draft table reminded me of a person sitting by a phone hoping his girlfriend would call him up wanting to go out and do something and hearing the stifling sound of silence. Even the body language of the table in the few shots we saw of them throughout NBC Sports Network’s draft coverage looked like a group of people resigned to their fate and hoping all that hype of ‘interest’ in Wild players amounted to something tangible.
Truth is, the rest of the league knows the Wild are in a tough spot. With very limited cap space and restricted free agents to sign no one is going to throw Minnesota lifeline to help out, instead it will more like a blockade. Let the Wild sit and wait, compel them to drop their asking price down and then get a decent player at a far more affordable price because they know the Wild probably need a bit more room to fill out their roster. Yet day two of the draft actually had the promise of the team making some selections. So will the Wild find some ‘Day 2’ gems?
For each player the team selected I will have a complete overview of their talent and what I can find on these prospects from expert sources such as International Scouting Services, HockeyProspect.com and if applicable the Hockey News. For the NHL Central Scouting ranking I will also include the prospect’s mid-term ranking in parentheses so you can see the player’s ranking trajectory at least as far as the league’s scouts saw it. So who did the Wild select?
3rd Round (85th Overall)
C/RW – Ivan Lodnia (Erie, OHL) born 8/31/99 in Los Angeles, California
Height: 5’10” Weight: 182lbs Shoots: Right
NHL Central Scouting: #36 (#37) ISS: #75 HockeyProspect.com: The Hockey News: #35
Talent Analysis: He is a smallish forward who has the ability to play either center or on the wing. The Memorial Cup champion is a who’s skating gets mixed reviews but is more of a darting type of player than one that just has blazing fast speed. Lodnia plays a two-way game and is fairly strong on his skates despite being undersized due to his wide stride. He is a good puckhandler in traffic and has good on-ice vision where he is an equal threat to set up teammates or take the shot himself. He will need to add strength and at times was overpowered in battles for pucks along the wall. He was more of a role player for a very talented Otters squad but still put up 55 points, and should benefit next season with more opportunity and increased ice time. Defensively, at times he can be tenacious on the backcheck and at others looks a bit uninspired to help out which is something else he’ll have to improve.
Notable Quotes (from the experts):
“I’ve always thought he was bigger than he actually is.” ~ NHL Scout
“A smart player who can contribute offensively, and has good awareness away from the puck.” ~ NHL Scout
“Midway through the season I was kind of surprised how many scouts I spoke to about Lodnia were so down about him given his point totals. I didn’t see much of him in the 1st half of the season and just saw the numbers. I saw him alot in the 2nd half and began to downgrade him myself. I felt his wide base in his skating hindered his production in some of my viewings. I saw him a lot in the playoffs where he has 6 points in 35 games. That’s an interesting stat.” ~ Mark Edwards of HockeyProspect.com
“I might be wrong and totally miss on this kid, but I can’t get myself on board with him.” ~ NHL Scout
“Playmaking winger. Excellent quickness and agility but top speed could be better, especially for a smaller player. Able to buy time and space for himself with his shiftiness but lacks separation speed. Good creativity and offensive ability.” ~ ISS Scout Rocco Zappia
“He’s small, quicker than fast. He skates with a wide stride which gives him good balance and strength but limits his high-end speed. Good puck skills and playmaking ability. Should be drafted in the NHL but will need time and development for NHL projection.” ~ ISS Scout Phil Myre
Bottom Line: He projects to be a bottom 6 winger if he improves his defensive consistency. He has the ability to chip in some offense too, but more of a project kind of player.
4th Round (97th Overall) from Arizona Coyotes
C – Mason Shaw (Medicine Hat, WHL) born 11/3/98 in Wainwright, Alberta
Height: 5’9″ Weight: 185lbs Shoots: Left
NHL Central Scouting: #55 (#63) ISS: #132 HockeyProspect.com: #103 The Hockey News: #71
Talent Analysis: He is a small, player with a tremendous motor that was has a late 1998 birthday. He put up 94 points with the Tigers and is more of a playmaker than a scorer as evidenced by his 11 assists in 12 playoff games this spring. Shaw has terrific wheels and changes direction very quickly which makes him difficult to contain in the offensive zone. His game sounds a lot like Nashville’s Viktor Arvidsson as a pint-sized player who battles hard for pucks on the wall and then can make things happen and chip in offensively. He has an uncanny ability to go into the corner against bigger players and then suddenly make his way out of the corner with the puck and then making a play or creating a scoring chance. Shaw is not afraid to be physical or take a hit to make a play. He has a lot of skill who obviously dropped over concerns over his size.
Notable Quotes (from the experts):
“Shaw doesn’t take shortcuts and is a leader on-ice because of how hard he works. That combined with his terrific vision and skating skill make him a legitimate candidate to be an undersized energy guy in the NHL.” ~ Cass Bruni HockeyProspect.com
“Small, skilled and very smart. Crafty with the puck. Good offensive instincts” ~ ISS Scout
Bottom Line: His skill set is that of a top 6 player, but is undersized yet cannot be matched in regards to work ethic and competitiveness.
4th Round (116th Overall)
C – Bryce Misley (Oakville, OJHL)
Height: 6’2″ Weight: 187lbs Shoots: Left
NHL Central Scouting: #85 (#101) ISS: #167 HockeyProspect.com: #116 The Hockey News: N/A
Talent Analysis: The Vermont-commit is a nice combination of size and skill. Scouts really felt his biggest asset was his intelligence which gives him a very solid two-way game. As one may expect from an intelligent player he demonstrates poise and patience with the puck and is equally adept as a finisher or a set up man but his overall mentality is more of a pass-first player. He doesn’t shy from the tough areas of the ice and uses his size effectively to win in battles for pucks along the boards. Misley may not be a very flashy player, but he plays a solid team-first game and with the right development could be a really nice addition to the Wild.
Notable Quotes (from the experts):
“Misley’s ability to combine size, skill and smarts allow him to thrive on both sides of the puck.” ~ Mike Mackley HockeyProspect.com
“Saw him a few times as he plays 5 minutes from home. Really liked him some games and then in others I had to search for him. Has skill and upside for sure. I struggled in trying to rank him because I saw both good and bad games this season.” ~ Mark Edwards HockeyProspect.com
“Good vision with nice hands, makes quick decisions with the puck in transition. Struggles in puck battles, has some tools but needs time to develop.” ~ ISS Scout
Bottom Line: He is more of a top 9 forward who is unselfish and highly intelligent with good physical gifts. The fact he’s a college-bound prospect means he’s probably at least 3 years away.
5th Round (147th Overall)
D/F – Jacob Golden (London , OHL) born 3/20/99 in Toronto, Ontario
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 170lbs Shoots: Left
NHL Central Scouting: #144 (#143) ISS: N/A HockeyProspect.com: #184 The Hockey News: N/A
Talent Analysis: Golden is your ultimate sleeper pick. A very skilled, tweener who switched back and forth between forward and defense but he struggled to get ice time on an always-deep London team. He had thought about going the college route but then opted to play in the OHL instead. Golden is a very smooth skater, with lots of raw talent but needs more ice time and opportunity. He doesn’t have a cannon of a shot when playing the point, but he finds a way to get it on goal and keeping it low which helps set up deflections. The Toronto-native is a decent passer but he is very much of a project type of player.
Notable Quotes (from the experts):
“I see the Knights about as often as any scout and I struggle with what to do with him because he didn’t get minutes. I love his raw tools, his skating is excellent but he was a mess trying to defend.” ~ Mark Edwards HockeyProspect.com
“I have no idea how good or bad he is because he doesn’t play.” ~ NHL Scout
Bottom Line: A long-term project player who could make you look like a genius if his raw ability is developed properly. Athletic, but needs more time and opportunity in order to refine his game.
6th Round (178th Overall)
C – Andrei Svetlakov (CSKA Moscow, KHL) born in 4/6/96 in Moscow, Russia
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 203lbs Shoots: Left
NHL Central Scouting: #48 Euro (NR) ISS: N/A HockeyProspect.com: N/A The Hockey News: N/A
Talent Analysis: Svetlakov is a player who enters the draft as a 21-year old where he played along side Wild prospect Kirill Kaprizov on the Russian junior team. He is a terrific skater with excellent hands and ability to make plays in traffic who has the ability to make his linemates better. Has played in the KHL the last two seasons which isn’t easy to do in Russia where he put up points playing in a limited role for one of the better teams in the league. He plays a two-way game and since he is too old to play major junior perhaps he can get some North American seasoning in the American Hockey League.
Bottom Line: He’s a skilled two-way player who has good chemistry with Kaprizov, and has already played well in one of the better leagues in the world. Top 9 potential, but needs seasoning in the North America.
7th Round (209th Overall)
C – Nick Swaney (Waterloo, USHL) born 9/9/97 in Lakeville, Minnesota
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 161lbs Shoots: Right
NHL Central Scouting: #138 (#182) ISS: N/A HockeyProspect.com: N/A The Hockey News: N/A
Talent Analysis: Passed over in the 2015 NHL Entry draft, he is an off the board selection for a small skilled forward with some good finishing ability and put up decent numbers in a league where its tough to score. He is at his best from in close and is a good stickhandler where he demonstrates deft on-ice vision. He anticipates the play quickly and that helps him make up for being just an above average skater. The former Lakeville South star works hard at both ends of the ice and uses his stick effectively to break up opposing rushes but he’ll need to add strength as he takes his game to Minnesota-Duluth next season. It will be interesting to see how much playing time he gets under Scott Sandelin next season.
Bottom Line: The Wild have a tendency to take at least one Minnesotan per draft and he’s another long-shot to make to the NHL. He has reasonable skills, but he has lot of developing to do in order to maybe top out as a 3rd or 4th line player.