When Draft Day comes around every year there is a reason that the first round is televised and is usually a pretty major event in the world of hockey. Players picked in the first round are the best of their age group, they are the names that the hockey world will be hearing about for years to come, and they are hard to come by.
The Minnesota Wild have made 22 first-round selections in the history of the team and 14 of them (63.6%) have gone on to play a minimum of 150 NHL games.
That number doesn’t include Matt Boldy, who looks to be a mainstay on the Wild roster for years to come; Marco Rossi, the highly touted center that has been lighting up the AHL or either of last years picks of Jesper Wallstedt and Carson Lambos. Both of the latter two are looking extremely promising.
I feel safe in saying that the four picks will also meet that 150-game mark in their careers, bringing the number to 18 of 22 (81.8%).
Perhaps even more impressive is the number of players that have gone on to lead extremely long and successful careers in the NHL, whether with the Wild or with other teams. Some players have even gone on to break the 1000 NHL game mark:
Mikko Koivu: The first ever permanent Wild captain, first player to play 1,000 games with the Minnesota and the first ever Wild player to have his number retired. Koivu is beloved by Wild fans and will forever hold a place as one of the greatest Minnesota Wild players of all time.
Marian Gaborik: Holding the title of “First Ever Minnesota Wild Draft Pick”, Marian Gaborik was an elite scorer for the eight seasons he played with the Wild and continued his dominance over an amazing 1,035 game career with the Rangers, Blue Jackets, Kings, and Senators.
He still holds many records with the Wild for most regular season goals (219), single season goals (42), and single season points (83).
Brent Burns: The 37-year-old defensemen is still active, currently playing for San Jose, and is already at 1,232 NHL games played. He has 764 points in his career and appears to have no plans of slowing down as he continues to log big minutes every game.
Other well known Minnesota Wild first rounders include:
Benoit Puliot, Nick Leddy, Mikael Granlund, Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba, Alex Tuch, Joel Eriksson Ek, and Luke Kunin.