Welcome back! Last time we talked draft and looked at who the Minnesota Wild should draft at #12 overall. I went off the board and gave my argument for drafting goalie Spencer Knight.
Today I want to take a look at the second round. The Wild, historically have struggled picking in later rounds. In the past 10 years only 5 players drafted in rounds 2-4 have played a minimum of 100 games. Three of those players Jason Zucker, Johan Larsson, and Jordan Greenway (I’m counting him because he will pass 100 games next season) were drafted in the second round. The other two, Darcy Keumper and Erik Haula, were drafted in the 6th and 7th round respectively.
So what’s my point? Well the last NHL draft heralded as the deepest since 2003 was in 2015. In that draft alone there are 9 players from rounds 2-7 who have played at least 100 games. Minnesota has none of them. This year, while not as deep as 2015, is said to be a very talented draft class. One the Wild would be wise to take advantage of. Right away in round 2 there’s an opportunity to get tremendous value if they can pick wisely. Here are my top two options for who they should pick at 42.
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At 42nd overall, after taking Knight the Wild need to focus on scoring. More specifically left-wing.
The Wild’s situation on the left side is very much dependant on whether or not Zucker is on the Wild next season. Regardless it would be wise to invest in the position as Zach Parise isn’t getting any younger, and who knows where Jordan Greenway’s ceiling is? So I’ve picked two names who I think fit the bill at 42.
Ranked 38th overall by Bob McKenzie in his official mock I leave Foote as an option as in the second round teams start to draft for need and Foote may slide. If he does than Minnesota needs to sprint to the podium as they are getting amazing value. Here’s the scouting report on Foote:
"Foote has very good size and plays with a blend of skill and power in his game. He has good stickhandling and puck protection ability. His size helps him to protect the puck on the cycle, and control the puck down low below the hash marks. He keeps the puck moving with smart passes to teammates and then moves to get himself open and take it back.Foote has an excellent wrist shot and a very quick release. When teammates have the puck, he finds open areas to get that shot off. When the other team has the puck, he is quick to get in on the forecheck, causing pressure and creating turnovers. Foote also is a good playmaker with good vision and decent passing skills. Foote is willing to work in the dirty areas of the ice. He gets to the front of the net and uses his size to create havoc."
This is an excerpt from a great article from lastwordonhockey.com. They do an excellent job of digging into prospects. From this we can say how he could help the wild. Between his frame, his shooting ability, and his willingness to dig in the tough areas to score, there’s a very good player in Nolan Foote.
On the other end of the spectrum (Foote is 6’3) we have 5’8 Nicholas Robertson. While he may be dwarfed by Foote Robertson plays a more physical game than Foote does. Robertson is a cerebral player with a mean streak who would be an excellent pick at 42. coincidentally McKenzie actually has him ranked 42nd overall in his mock draft. Here’s the scouting report, again from lastwordonhockey.com:
"Robertson has a non-stop motor and is always involved in the middle of the play. He is surprisingly physical for his size, getting in quickly on the forecheck and being an absolute wrecking ball against opposing defenders. His ability to cause turnovers and create havoc on the forecheck helps him to create offence. He is also willing to get to the front of the net and creates havoc there. Robertson is good at getting tip-ins, burying rebounds, or just causing goaltenders problems with his presence and ability to get under their skin.Robertson is also skilled. He has good hands and can make strong stickhandling moves around a defender. When he creates some space, he is able to get off a good wrist shot and a quick release. He also has a very good snapshot. Robertson is shifty and this helps him to make passing and shooting lanes. When he gets the opportunity, he can create for teammates with a tape-to-tape pass in a scoring area. Robertson sees the ice well and reads the play effectively making smart plays with the puck. Without the puck, he is able to find open space and take a pass from a teammate."
If you want to find Joe Pavelski on the ice look at the opposing goalie’s net, he’ll be there. Robertson is a lot the same way, he takes a lot of pride in his ability to be a net front presence, in spite of his size. Robertson loves to be physical while still possessing elite offense skills, be it his vision and passing or his shooting, but make no mistake, Robertson can tip em’.
The main difference between Robertson and Foote is that while Foote uses his frame to create space in order to generate offense, Robertson uses his physicality directly to cause offense. Foote is very comparable to a Leon Draisaitl or Mikko Rantenen in play style where yes they use their body to leverage position, but they don’t use it as a main source to generate offense. they’re skill players, Robertson on the other hand is a spitting image of Joe Pavelski.
So who would you rather see the Wild draft? Personally I’m on team Foote as he plays a more complete game but at the same time Robertson has that edge and chip on his shoulder that’s always a welcome addition to any team.