The Minnesota Wild have drafted Kurtis Gabriel and Dylan Labbe with their 3rd and 4th round picks in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Gabriel went 81st overall while Labbe went 107th.
Kurtis Gabriel is a 6′ 4″, 190 lb, right wing from the Owen Sound Attack in the OHL. The 20 year old scored 13 goals, added 15 assists and accumulated 100 penalty minutes to go with a +14 rating in 67 games last season. Over his three years with the Attack the Newport Ontario, Canada native averaged 57 games played with 6 goals, 10 assists, and 64 penalty minutes per season. Gabriel is excited to join the Wild organization tweeting,
— Kurtis Gabriel (@Gaber_29) July 1, 2013
Gabriel brings a physical presence to the Wild with a power forward style of play and the willingness to drop the gloves and fight to defend a teammate or bring about a momentum swing. He’s had to work hard each step of his way toward a NHL career. Kurtis was a walk on and made the Attack team through tryouts in 2010. He was also passed over by all 30 NHL clubs in the 2011 and 2012 entry drafts before being taken in the third round this year. It wil be interesting to see how he performs at the Minnesota Wild’s prospect camps prior to Minnesota’s NHL camp this coming September. Gabriel strikes me as a Matt Kassian style of player with better offensive upside than the former Wild and current Ottawa Senator’s enforcer. Wild Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr described Gabriel as a, “Big imposing winger that brings a physical element every night.”
Dylan Labbe is a 6′ 1″ , 181 lb defenseman from the Shawinigan Cataractes of the QMJHL. The 18 year old accumulated 7 goals, 21 assists along with 57 penalty minutes in 61 games this past season. Labbe was the 95th ranked North American skater heading into Sunday’s draft. At just over 6 feet tall I expect Labbe to add some weight to his frame over the next couple of seasons and add strength as he matures. It’s quite possible he returns to the QMJHL this next season before moving on to the Iowa Wild for more seasoning before potentially joining the Wild’s NHL defensive corps. D-men typically develop a bit slower than forwards with Jonas Brodin a very notable exception for the Wild this year. Minnesota Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr said Labbe is, “A smart puck moving D-man that plays in all situations. (He) needs to get stronger, but we feel he has a quality upside.”
Time will tell if this year’s 3rd and 4th round picks turn into NHL regulars or never make it to “The Show”. Some past 3 rounders who saw NHL playing time for Minnesota include; Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Hackett, and Clayton Stoner. Just one 4th rounder has made the NHL roster, Justin Falk who was traded Sunday to the New York Rangers in exchange for center Benn Ferreiro and a 6th round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. One other 4th round pick who has NHL potential is Sean Lorenz who is currently playing for Notre Dame in the Hockey East Conference. Since the 2000 NHL Draft the 3rd and 4th rounds have not exactly been a gold mine of talent for the Minnesota Wild but, Gabriel and Labbe may be the players to change that. Check back with GonePuckWild.com as we continue to profile the Wild’s 2013 NHL Draftees. Until then this is Scott Drain chanting, “Let’s Go Wild!!”