Defenseman K’Andre Miller was the only Minnesotan taken in the first round of the NHL draft on Friday night, going 22nd overall to the New York Rangers.
The Rangers got the pick from Ottawa by giving the Senators the 26th and 48th picks.
Miller, who is from Hopkins and skated for Minnetonka High School, played for the U.S. National Development Program’s under-18 team last year. He has signed with the University of Wisconsin.
“To have a team really want you that bad that they’ll trade for you, it really means everything,” he said. “I’m dedicated, and I’m a very determined person. For them to have that opportunity for me has been pretty cool. I’m excited.
“This is my second full year of playing defense. I saw myself as an offensive-type player, and I think I can add a lot of offense for a team.”
The 6-3, 200-pounder moved from forward two years ago and is recognized as an excellent skater for his size.
“I had a pretty good interview with [the Rangers],” Miller said. “I had a feeling deep down they might be the team.”
Miller was the last of six Americans taken in the first round.
The others were Boston University winger Brady Tkachuk, fourth to Ottawa; University of Michigan defenseman Quinn Hughes, seventh to Vancouver; Boston College-committed center Oliver Wahlstrom, 11th to the Islanders; BU-committed winger Joel Farabee, 14th to Philadelphia; and Providence-committed center Jay O’Brien, 19th to the Flyers.
Wild General Manager Paul Fenton said recently he had not talked with prized Russian prospect Kirill Kaprizov but planned to reach out to him this summer. Kaprizov, whom the Wild drafted in the fifth round in 2015, is still under contract with the Kontinental Hockey League. He is not expected to join the Wild until the 2020-21 season.
“Obviously we talk to the agent a number of times to try to see if there’s anything that can be done, but that’s just not realistic,” said Brent Flahr, senior vice president of hockey operations. “We’ll do our best to keep in touch with him and make him feel important. But we have to wait the two years, unfortunately.”
Kaprizov’s agent, Daniel Milstein, and then Wild GM Chuck Fletcher met with Kaprizov in January in Moscow. It was the Wild’s first face-to-face meeting with Kaprizov, who then helped the Olympic Athletes from Russia to gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics. The 21-year-old center had 15 goals and 25 assists in 46 games for CSKA Moscow last season.
• The Wild has touched base with the representatives for restricted free agents Jason Zucker and Matt Dumba. Qualifying offers for RFAs are due Monday. Aside from Zucker and Dumba, defensemen Nick Seeler and Ryan Murphy are also impending RFAs.
• Defenseman Ryan Suter and forward Luke Kunin are “doing pretty well” as they heal from major injuries, Fenton said. Suter suffered a right ankle fracture in March, while Kunin tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee also in March. Suter anticipated arriving for training camp as normal, while Kunin was expected to be ready to play in six to seven months.
• The Wild owns seven picks for Saturday’s conclusion of the draft — Nos. 63, 86 and 92 in the third round; Nos. 148 and 155 in the fifth round; No. 179 in the sixth round; and No. 210 in the seventh round.