Minnesota Wild: First Round Draft Pick Should Be Joel Ek-Eriksson


The season may be over for our Minnesota Wild, but for every fantasy GM at home (including myself) our favorite offseason in sports begins in just a little over a month, with the 2015 NHL Draft on June 26th.

The Wild have in my opinion a copious list of areas on the depth chart to address this summer. Whether it’s the power play units, defensive pairings, trades, or re-signings and releases of free agents, it all begins at the BB&T Center in Sunrise Florida on June 26th. Let’s not focus yet on anything other than the draft.

General Manager Chuck Fletcher has already stated due to the thin free agency this year, he doesn’t see himself making any splashes in regards to that aspect. He also didn’t rule out a trade of his first round pick this year in one of Michael Russo’s lengthier articles on the Wild’s off-season to-do list.

"“We have our first-round pick, I haven’t traded that… yet”"

If the Wild do indeed maintain their 20th first round draft slot, my prediction is a centre. My hope is a centre. Our need is a centre.

Lets take a quick look at where our centers stand at this point. Mikael Granlund is a RFA this summer who honestly hasn’t earned big money due to low point production and injury issues every year. We’ll get to him later this off-season.

Mikko Koivu is our captain, and no matter how many people call for his head, he’s not going anywhere. With just two goals in his past 30 playoff games, he also struggled mightily in the face-off circle against Hawks captain Jonathan Toews throughout the second-round sweep. We’ll also get more in-depth with Mikko this summer.

Then you have Erik Haula and Kyle Brodziak. Brodziak may be playing elsewhere next season as he is a UFA, and Haula severely disappointed this season with just 14 points. The latter was seen last year as our second-line centre of the future. Maybe jumped the gun on that one a bit. Again, these two will be discussed more down the road.

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So, you catch my drift. I think we need a centre. Target a hard-working, play-making, face-off winning player with good vision and potential. Enter Joel Ek-Eriksson (Eriksson-Ek).

The Swede wouldn’t only shake up our centre nationality (Finnesota), he provides everything we need at this point out of the guys up the middle. He can score, (despite his numbers in the SHL after 34 games last year; 6 pts in 34 GP) but his work-ethic, face-off percentage, and tenacity were there. The kid is super strong along the boards with his puck possession during both his fore-check and back-checking. Joel is expected to go late in the first-round (possibly early second) but I don’t think Fletch would be pulling the trigger too early if he decided to draft the 18 year old. If he doesn’t go with Ekky, it just better be a centre.

Don’t agree with me here? Well here are a few other in-depth looks and predictions on what the Wild could do in the first round from our Andrew McCormack.

Be sure to follow us at Gone Puck Wild throughout the summer as we intend to bring you daily opinions on all potential trade-targets, RFA and UFA re-signings, and players who may be on the trade block themselves. This should be an interesting off-season to say the least after such an abrupt end to the Wild’s campaign.

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