The World Juniors kick off in Canada on Boxing Day, with the Minnesota Wild disappointingly being represented on no nations’ roster.
For a while it looked like there may be at least one or two Minnesota Wild drafted players with a chance of making their respective nations’ World Juniors roster. Connor Dewar found himself edged out by the sheer competition for places on Team Canada. Luckily though, Alexander Khovanov managed to make the final camp cut with Team Russia, but not the final roster.
You could simply look at the draft choices and the prospects within the Minnesota Wild system and point to the fact there are several over-age guys and that is why they’re being overlooked.
Equally however, you could look at the team’s drafting over previous years and point the finger and the scouting and management. Simply put, they haven’t made enough of their picks.
Even more so because the Minnesota Wild have traded away so many draft picks over the previous decade, in their constant battle to do more than just make up the numbers in the playoffs.
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There are glimmers of hope in the system that are no longer young enough to find a spot at the World Juniors. Look at Luke Kunin‘s recent promotion to the NHL, likewise Jordan Greenway continues to grow into his role. Neither guy is old by any stretch of the imagination and both are in their first real NHL season.
Their emergence with the Minnesota Wild surely is a good sign, however watching the World Juniors at this time of year is always that little more enjoyable if there’s a player specifically to root for.
Perhaps the scariest prospect is the fact that around the Central Division, their rivals have representation en-masse; the Chicago Blackhawks have seven draft picks headed to the World Juniors this year. Winnipeg and Colorado have three, Dallas and Nashville have two. Even St. Louis has one player, thus are better represented as the Minnesota Wild.
With any luck, Khovanov can make a late injury cal-up and the Minnesota Wild can start to dream of the day that their Russian prospects all graduate to the main roster; until then though, maybe it’s time to start looking at the draft-eligible guys at this years’ World Juniors.
The rate the Wild are going right now, who knows maybe we’ll be selecting high enough to snag one of the top guys!