General Manager Chuck Fletcher and his scouting department spent its first two drafts (2009 and 2010) adding offensively skilled players to the Minnesota Wild’s prospect pool.
In the last two drafts, he kept adding skilled forwards while also building other aspects of the team’s prospect pool.
Now, he and Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr can concentrate on taking the best player available in the draft.
“When you’re picking 10th, you have the novelty of maybe going after a need,” Flahr said at the team’s draft preview press conference. “We always say ‘the best player’ at times, but the (Jonas) Brodin draft we knew we were targeting a defenseman because with (Brent) Burns we knew we were going to make that trade. The (Mikael) Granlund, (Jason) Zucker and (Johan) Larsson year, we really needed forwards in the organization. We have some forwards. We feel have a pretty good mix, we feel. When you get to 46, it legitimately is the best player available.”
Final Central Scouting Service North American Forwards
No. 1 – C Nathan MacKinnon, Halifax (QMJHL). “What makes Nathan stand out is that he has a real quickness with his read and react; his hockey sense – how he sees the ice and his vision. That is something special in a player. He is continuing to physically mature, but already he’s got a lot of grit in his game and he is a competitive player.” – Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting
No. 2 – LW Jonathan Drouin, Halifax (QMJHL). “Nathan MacKinnon makes players around him better, but if you appear to make Nathan MacKinnon better, you’re doing yourself a solid. It’s not as if people think MacKinnon made him better. It’s more Drouin’s ability to play at that level and side-by-side with him. Drouin has responded very well this season, and that’s why we think of him so highly.” – David Gregory of NHL Central Scouting
No. 3 – C Sean Monahan, Ottawa (OHL). “Sean has high-end puck skills and playmaking ability. He has very good offensive instincts and creates offense every shift.” Chris Edwards of NHL Central Scouting
No. 4 – LW/C Hunter Shinkaruk, Medicine Hat (WHL). “As soon has he touches the puck, people in the stands want to stand up and say, ‘Here he goes.’ This kid is really exciting to watch. As soon as he touches the puck you go, ‘Wow, this is great.'” – Peter Sullivan of NHL Central Scouting
No. 5 – LW Valentin Zykov, Baie Comeau (QMJHL). “He’s an unbelievable talent; scores the big goals. He’s going to be special. Great skater, strong kid. Really a solid kid. He goes into the corner and comes out with the puck. He has great hands, can shoot the puck, passes the puck, does everything well.” – Chris Bordeleau of NHL Central Scouting
Final Central Scouting Service European Forwards
No. 1 – C Aleksander Barkov, Tappara (Finland). “He was one of the reasons why Tappara finished second in the league. Just consistent, cool, smart two-way center. An injured shoulder (kept) him out of the remainder of the season, but that won’t hurt his high draft status. Always seems to be in the right spot at the right time. He’s a very good stickhandler with great vision.” – Goran Stubb, NHL Director of European Scouting
No. 2 – RW Valeri Nichushkin, Chelyabinsk 2 (Russia Jr.). “He’s a big, strong player with a high overall skill set. He can score the big goals and can dominate games…he’s very skilled and talented and, by far, the best Russian available in the draft this year.” – Goran Stubb
No. 3 – C Elias Lindholm, Brynas Jr. (Sweden Jr.). “He’s a complete package. He could very well be the next Peter Forsberg. He’s an excellent skater and great competitor who gives it 110 percent on every shift. He can skate, score and pass, and is physically strong even though he is a finesse-type of player.” – Goran Stubb
No. 4 – C Alexander Wennberg, Djurgarden Jr. (Sweden Jr.). “Alexander improved a lot during the season since he had a big role and was a workhorse with good offensive instincts. He’s not flashy but a very skilled, mature, smart and solid forward. He likes to go straight for the net and has a quick release.” – Goran Stubb
No. 5 – LW Andre Burakovksy, Malmo Jr. (Sweden Jr.). “A gifted offensive player who had a bad season. Didn’t get the kind of ice time he expected and didn’t really come through when he got the opportunity.” Uffe Bodin of Hockeysverige.se