The Minnesota Wild need to stock-pile and then make smart draft picks
The final part of the blue-print is that the Toronto Maple Leafs were blessed with multiple top ten draft picks. The likes of Morgan Rielly, Nazem Kadri, William Nylander, Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews all landed with them very early on.
Now, in an ideal world the Minnesota Wild would somehow luck into Jack Hughes and there would be the new center piece of the roster, much like Matthews.
However, the Leafs are built the way they are through successive smart draft picks and successive poor seasons. We don’t necessarily want to follow down that same path.
What we do want to see the Minnesota Wild do though is not draft safe players like they have in the past with Joel Eriksson Ek and most recently Filip Johansson.
They need to be willing to make an impact at the draft; there were skill players left in several of the previous years when the Minnesota Wild were up to draft. You only need look at the fact they opted for Eriksson Ek in 2015 when Minnesota-born Brock Boeser was still available to see proof of this ‘safety first’ approach.
It’s time to cut the shackles; the Leafs have drafted speed and skill, same with the Lightning, same with the Penguins. It’s time to stop looking at stable two-way guys and look at the guy that could blow a game wide open with a skill play!
Not just that, the Minnesota Wild General Manager Paul Fenton needs to be getting on the phone early with other General Managers around the league. Eric Staal and Eric Fehr would be attractive acquisitions for a play-off bound team; why not sacrifice this season and ship them out for drafting pieces.
You never know, one of those pieces or the resultant dip in form that could be accompanied by sending Staal away, could be enough to land a player that can step in straight away next season.
Now, the Toronto Maple Leafs are far from perfect, but the manner in which they’ve turned their team around is impressive however you choose to look at it.
With the need to rebuild or at least heavily retool, the Minnesota Wild really should take heed of their approach. You never know, maybe tonight’s opponents are a future Stanley Cup final opponent.
Dare to dream, Minnesota Wild fans! But only if management sees the smart approach!