The 2020 NHL Entry Draft is over. Two days, over eight hours, and hundreds of draft picks saw 32 teams secure the future of their franchises with young, exciting players. The Minnesota Wild draft ended with five picks: three forwards and two defensemen. Wild GM Bill Guerin worked hard to trade players and picks alike to build a better future for the team.
Today, we’ll be grading the Minnesota Wild draft picks. Read on to see who the Wild secured and how they’ll help the team in the foreseeable future.
Grading the Minnesota Wild Draft Picks
Round 1, Pick 9 – Marco Rossi, C: A+
The Wild hit a home run by drafting high-speed center Marco Rossi. In the 2019-20 season with the Ottawa 67s of the OHL, Rossi exploded with 120 points in just 56 games. His dynamic scoring ability, coupled with his lightning-quick reflexes, make Rossi a threat on both sides of the ice. Rossi was projected to be a top-five pick in the draft; the Wild, it seems, have struck gold with this pick. Expect to see Rossi suited up for the Wild sometime in the 2021-2022 season.
Round 2, Pick 37 – Marat Khusnutdinov, C: A-
Drafted from the second round pick that saw Luke Kunin head to the Nashville Predators in one of the few Draft Day trades, Marat Khusnutdinov is one of the fastest players in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. While Khusnutdinov isn’t the tallest in his draft class (he stands at 5’8″), he’s nimble, agile, and lethal with his shots. He ended his last season in the Russian MHL with 38 points in 44 games, showcasing speed and adaptability all the way. This pick serves as another huge win for the Wild; Khusnutdinov’s versatility and agility practically make him an inevitable NHL player.
Round 2, Pick 39 – Ryan O’Rourke, D: B+
Ryan O’Rourke has been touted as one of the best defensemen in the draft for months. The Wild hit another home run with O’Rourke, drafting the Soo Greyhounds’ captain in the early second round. Often described as a “mean, nasty” player, O’Rourke is a powerful stay-at-home defenseman who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. While his skating and slapshot still need a bit of work, O’Rourke has been often compared to Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson. If he can reach that potential, the Wild will have secured yet another solid player in this draft.
Round 3, Pick 65 – Daemon Hunt, D: C+
The Wild traded their fourth round pick from the Kunin trade to the Detroit Red Wings to secure Daemon Hunt. Hunt suffered an injury-shortened season last year, but wasted no time playing efficiently and effectively on both sides of the ice. While he’s a perfectly capable offensive-minded defenseman, he struggles in one-on-one rushes, which can lead to costly mistakes on the ice. If he improves his defensive game, he has the potential to make it in the NHL.
Round 5, Pick 146 – Pavel Novak, RW: B
With 58 points in 55 games for the Kelowna Rockets, Pavel Novak is a bona-fide playmaking threat. Praised for his offensive ability, Novak has an arsenal of creative techniques he uses to dismantle his oppositi0n. From quick passes to agile reflexes, Novak is at his best when he’s on the offensive end of the play. Having said that, Novak’s skating still leaves a bit to be desired. He’s inconsistent with his speed, shifting from a lightning-fast player to a slow, sluggish one in a matter of minutes. With enough training and consistency, Novak could be a threat for the Wild’s opponents for years to come.
What do you think of the Wild’s drafting? Who was their biggest steal? Let us know in the comments!