The Minnesota Wild qualified for the playoffs for the sixth straight season and topped 100 points in each of their seasons under head coach Bruce Boudreau.
The Wild are in an interesting spot with most of their top prospects ready to transition into the NHL full-time but a loaded depth chart that could stop that from happening.
- Joel Eriksson Ek (No.20 in 2015) — Eriksson Ek spent the majority of last season already in the NHL but didn’t produce the kind of offensive numbers as expected. The 21-year-old scored just six goals and 10 assists (16 points) in 75 games. He figures to be a top-9 forward for the Wild this fall.
- Luke Kunin (No.15 in 2016) — Kunin isn’t expected to be ready for training camp after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL in March. Kunin had 19 points (10G / 9A) in 36 AHL games before being promoted to the NHL, where he had just two goals and two assists in 19 games. Once healthy, he may start in the AHL but should work his way to the big club in no time.
- Jordan Greenway (No.50 in 2015) — Greenway is an absolute force at 6-foot-6, 226 lbs. and played with the Wild briefly at the end of last season. The 21-year-old had one assist in six regular season games and two points (1G / 1A) in five playoff games. That came on the heels of a 35-point (13G / 22A) in 36 games in his junior year at Boston University. He could find himself on the left wing alongside Eriksson Ek in 2018-19.
- Kirill Kaprizov (No.135 in 2015) — While Eriksson Ek, Kunin and Greenway all have second/third line potential at the NHL level, Kaprizov might be their most intriguing prospect. The 21-year-old Russian winger is crazy talented and has put up sparkling numbers in the KHL. While playing for CSKA Moscow, Kaprizov tied for the team-lead in points with 40 (15G / 25A) in 46 games—13 more points in four fewer games than Stars’ prospect Valeri Nichushkin.
With the No.24 Overall Pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Minnesota Wild select…
Jared McIsaac — LHD — Canada ????????
The Wild are loaded with prospects and NHL-ready players up-front but need some prospects on the back-end. With Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin their blueline is set for the immediate future but their is little in the pipeline. McIsaac provides a quality prospect that can be viewed similarly to Suter.
McIsaac certainly isn’t flashy, but he is a safe two-way defenseman with some offensive upside. Sometimes “safe” isn’t what NHL GM’s are looking for in the first-round, but McIsaac has a lot of good qualities. The 18-year-old has good size (6-foot-1, 194 lbs.) and moves very-well for his stature. In his second year with the Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL), McIsaac scored nine goals with 38 assists (47 points) in 65 games. He also had a nice showing as an assistant captain for Canada’s U-18 team and will attempt to crack their World Junior team this winter.
The Wild aren’t getting Rasmus Dahlin here, but they don’t have to worry about McIsaac hurting them. With a steady top-4 intact, the Wild can be patient while building their blueline of the future, using free agents and minor trades to patch-up their third pair for now.
“McIsaac is a smooth-skating, two-way defenseman…he focuses on keeping his end clean first and foremost before adding to the offensive play…effortless skater with agility and balance…a long flawless stride…his cuts and transitions are fluid…incredible hockey sense…thinks the game at a very high level, and makes great decisions with the puck on his stick…keeps things simple, but can add a bit of flair where he sees an opportunity…pin-point breakout passes he delivers crisply and accurately…he really controls the puck well at high speeds and will skate it end-to-end when he gets room to rush the puck up ice…possesses a real cannon of a shot from the point…plays opposing puck carriers aggressively and stands up attackers at the blue line…keeps a close gap pushing opponents to the outside and applies good pressure to force mistakes…plays with a mean streak in the corners and around his own crease…doesn’t shy away from working hard…confident and mature…he’s a calming, safe, reliable two-way defender that has top-pairing NHL upside.” — Future Considerations