Guide to the 2020 Draft: Who the Minnesota Wild Could Take with Pick 9

With the  NHL playoffs winding down to the final four teams and the NHL 2020 Draft coming up in less than 40 days, let’s go over 4 scenarios on who the Wild should take at pick number 9.

Recently hired by Wild GM Bill Guerin, Judd Brackett gets his first chance to impress Wild fans and place his fingerprint on the Wild’s future. Brackett has done an exceptional job drafting in Vancouver and after he was relieved of his scouting duties, Guerin made no mistake in bringing him over here.

The Wild have had 4 first-round selections in the last 5 years. In 2019, Paul Fenton and his staff drafted LW Matt Boldy(12th), 2018 Paul Fenton puzzlingly drafted D Filip Johansson(24th), in 2017 Chuck Fletcher traded his first for Martin Hanzal, who is currently out of the league. In 2016 Fletcher drafted C/RW Luke Kunin(15th), and in 2015 Fletcher took C Joel Eriksson Ek(20th).

In a very strong draft this year, Wild fans are excited to be picking in the top 10. The last time the Wild had a first-round pick that was in the top 10 was in 2012 where Fletcher took Matt Dumba.

It is almost certain the Wild needs to draft a center but the question is, what center will Brackett and Guerin take? I’d say 5 elite centers in this draft can make a positive impact on an NHL team. Centers like; Tim Stützle, Quinton Byfield, Cole Perfetti, Marco Rossi, and lastly Anton Lundell will likely be taken in the top 10 of the 2020 NHL draft. But what center will be available at pick number 9?

Scenario #1

It is highly likely Stützle and Byfield get taken #2 and #3 so there isn’t a good chance the Wild will get either of those superstars. Scenario 1 in my eyes will be how the draft goes, but 3 other scenarios could prove me wrong.

New York Rangers: #1 LW Alexis Lafrenière

LA Kings #2 C Tim Stützle

Ottawa Senators #3 C Quinton Byfield

Detroit Red Wings #4 C Marco Rossi

Ottawa Senators #5 D Jamie Drysdale

Anaheim Ducks #6 LW Lucas Raymond

New Jersey Devils #7 RW Alexander Holtz

Buffalo Sabres #8 C Cole Perfetti

9th
Anton Lundell
Center HIFK (SM-Liiga)

VANCOUVER, BC – JANUARY 5: Team Finland, Anton Lundell #29. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

Lundell at 9 would be a steal. This draft is stacked with talent, the only concern is if Steve Yzerman takes Lundell at 4 which he very well could.

Lundell is a crafty young 2-way center with exceptional vision and IQ. You can use him on the power play and penalty kill. Lundell plays the point on the power play due to his heavy shot, play-making ability, and defensive awareness. The young Finn is 6’2″ 181 and plays a terrific game on the boards. A well rounded and smooth skater with strong balance which suits his physical play well. Not afraid to get to the dirty areas and use his size to his advantage. NHL ETA: 0-1 years. NHL player comparable: VGK William Karlsson.

Scenario #2

Let’s say Lundell gets taken by the Red Wings. That would leave us with something like this:

New York Rangers: #1 LW Alexis Lafrenière

LA Kings #2 C Quinton Byfield

Ottawa Senators #3 C Tim Stützle

Detroit Red Wings #4 C Anton Lundell

Ottawa Senators #5 D Jamie Drysdale

Anaheim Ducks #6 LW Lucas Raymond

New Jersey Devils #7 RW Alexander Holtz

Buffalo Sabres #8 C Marco Rossi

9th
Cole Perfetti
Center Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

LONDON, ON – MARCH 09: Saginaw Spirit, Cole Perfetti #91 (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Like Lundell, Cole Perfetti is a crafty center. Perfetti was used as a center-winger this year for Saginaw. Don’t let his 5’9″, 175lb frame fool you, Perfetti is a very strong young kid on his skates. Some say his hockey IQ is the best in the draft. An elite playmaker who wants the puck at all times. Passionate about winning, driving force of the team. Battles hard to win puck battles and win them. Elite vision, beats defenders one on one, and creates open lanes with his speed. Keeps the puck close to his body and rarely turns it over. NHL ETA: 0-1 years. NHL comparable CGY Johnny Gaudreau.

Scenario #3

Both Lundell and Perfetti get taken when the Wild draft, here’s how it could look:

New York Rangers: #1 LW Alexis Lafrenière

LA Kings #2 C Quinton Byfield

Ottawa Senators #3 C Tim Stützle

Detroit Red Wings #4 C Anton Lundell

Ottawa Senators #5 RW Alexander Holtz

Anaheim Ducks #6 C Cole Perfetti

New Jersey Devils #7 D Jamie Drysdale

Buffalo Sabres #8 LW Lucas Raymond

9th
Marco Rossi
Center Ottawa 67's (OHL)

PETERBOROUGH, ON – MARCH 14: Ottawa 67’s, Marco Rossi #23 (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

A little secret, this kid is elite. A smart playmaker with excellent skating ability. The 5’9″ Austrian center recorded 120 points in 56 games for the 67’s. Plays a very high-paced game and is a power play wizard due to his hockey sense, puck control, and powerful shot. Recorded 81 assists and 39 goals but is just as good of a scorer then he is a setup man. Not afraid to get physical and battle in the blue paint, despite his small size. Soft hands and strong recognition where his teammates are. Strong on the face-off dot and doesn’t disregard his defensive ability if the situation presents itself. NHL ETA: Now, NHL comparable PHI Claude Giroux.

Scenario #4

Let’s say Rossi, Lundell, and Perfetti are all taken before pick number 9. The best players by position would be; Winger Alexander Holtz, C Hendrix Lapierre, D Jake Sanderson, and G Yaroslav Askarov. I would want the Wild to take Lapierre or Holtz over a goalie, but what if Bill Guerin and Judd Brackett decide to take a goalie.

New York Rangers: #1 LW Alexis Lafrenière

LA Kings #2 C Quinton Byfield

Ottawa Senators #3 C Tim Stützle

Detroit Red Wings #4 C Anton Lundell

Ottawa Senators #5 D Jamie Drysdale

Anaheim Ducks #6 C Marco Rossi

New Jersey Devils #7 C Cole Perfetti

Buffalo Sabres #8 LW Lucas Raymond

9th
Yaroslav Askarov
Goalie SKA-1946 Russia

ST. PAUL, MN – AUGUST 22: Craig Leipold, owner of the Minnesota Wild, listens as Bill Guerin answers questions from the media as the new general manager for the team at a press conference at Xcel Energy Center on August 22, 2019, in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Editor’s Note: couldn’t find a picture of Askarov in our database. Weirrrrrrrd)

Rare right glove goalie with good size. The 6’2″ 176 goalie moves exceptionally well with good concentration. Very unique and smart netminder, who baits the shooter to shot one side then immediately takes it away after the shot. Reacts with top reflexes and adjusts well to deflecting pucks. Very calm, cool, and a poised young goalie who projects to “steal a playoff series,” said to be the best Russian goalie since Andre Vasilevski. Wonderful lateral movement moves calmly but extremely effectively. NHL ETA: 1-3 years, NHL Comparable VGK Marc-Andre Fleury.

Breakdown

I trust Bill Guerin and Judd Brackett to get the job done and provide us with an elite or franchise player for the future. This is a very strong draft and you can’t go wrong with any selection in the top 10. So in the meantime, we will have to await the greatness.

All stats courtesy of eliteprospects.com all scouting reports courtesy of my own opinions. 

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