NHL Draft: Will Minnesota Wild keep defenseman Jack Peart in home state?

Jack Peart played high school hockey for Grand Rapids. He is committed to St. Cloud State. It’s also possible that he ends this weekend in a Minnesota Wild sweater to complete a state-pucks trifecta.

The 18-year-old  is among the top defensemen available for the NHL Draft that begins Friday and it would address the team’s need for prospects at the position

Peart is ranked 27th  overall among North American skaters by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau. He is the ninth defenseman on that list with University of Michigan’s Owen Power and Luke Hughes, a Canton, Michigan, native, ranked first and fourth overall, respectively.

He also is among a list of notable NHL Draft prospects from Minnesota — a list headed by  Minnesota Golden Gophers recruit and a probable first-round pick Chaz Lucius.

Minnesota hockey fans, especially those in the Iron Range portion of the state,  are already  familiar with the  left-handed defenseman’s on-ice ability. He had 11 goals and 35 assists this year as Grand Rapids reached the state boys’ hockey tournament this season. He also was the recipient of the Mr. Hockey Award as the most outstanding senior player in the state.

 

 

Peart began his season as a member of the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League. He left after 16 games for the high school hockey. He then returned  to  the Force in April, as the team reached  the Clark Cup Final against the Chicago Steel.

Scott Wheeler of The Athletic has Peart at No. 37 in his pre-draft ranking of the Top 100 available players.

Wheeler wrote  of Peart:

He’s a heady transition defenceman who excels at breaking the puck out of his own zone and starting the rush through neutral ice. But it’s evident that he also prides himself on working to be active and disruptive defensively, even if he’s not overtly physical (physicality should not be confused with work ethic!), and he does a really good job breaking up plays as a result.

Peart is a player who is predicted to be selected in the second round in a number of mock drafts that have been done. But he could sneak into the first round as well. One in fact, had Peart going to — you guessed it — the Minnesota Wild with the No. 26 pick, one of two that the team has in the first round.

EliteProspects.com had praise for Peart’s game in its annual draft preview:

He skates with a heightened activity rate through his feet, and uses crossovers to cut laterally and quickly close space while defending in transition. He keeps his feet stable through the neutral zone once he’s established a gap with the closing opponent. Peart shoulder-checks for options as he collects the puck, layers deception onto his first touch, and sprints right past the first forechecker with ease.

 

 

 

Minnesotans love to cheer for homegrown talent that reaches the professional rank. It’s even better when that individual is actually playing for the in-state team.

The Minnesota Wild have five picks within the first three rounds of the NHL Draft and will be looking for a defenseman at some point over the weekend.

Peart could be available and  a move to make.

It definitely is not a wild scenario to imagine.