Who will it be?
The Wild will have its highest draft pick since taking defenseman Matt Dumba with the No. 7 overall pick in 2012. Here are five possibilities for the Wild’s No. 9 pick:
Yaroslav Askarov, goalie
NEVA ST. PETERSBURG (RUSSIA-2)
Goalies rarely get drafted early in the first round, but Askarov is a standout among his peers. He’s athletic and mobile and boasts quite a pedigree, earning plenty of international accolades while impressively climbing the ranks in his native Russia. Two years away from jumping to the NHL, though.
Alexander Holtz, right wing
A versatile forward who can play both wings, Holtz is known for his shoot-first mentality, but he isn’t short on playmaking skills. Last season, he led under-18 players in points in Sweden’s top league.
Anton Lundell, center
The Wild counted on a responsible, two-way center for years in former captain Mikko Koivu, and that’s the kind of well-rounded skill set Lundell possesses. He isn’t careless with the puck and has a strong hockey IQ that makes him valuable all over the ice.
Jack Quinn, right wing
OTTAWA (ONTARIO HOCKEY LEAGUE)
His 52 goals in 62 games were the second-most in the OHL last season, production that has Quinn hyped as arguably the best scorer in the draft. That doesn’t mean that he’s negligent when it comes to defending; Quinn has worked in all on-ice situations including the penalty kill.
Jake Sanderson, defenseman
USA HOCKEY NATIONAL TEAM DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM UNDER-18
Sanderson, who is a freshman at North Dakota, is an efficient skater known for his work ethic and tenacious defending. His dad, Geoff, played more than 1,100 games in the NHL.