Two of the Wild's highest choices in last month's draft — third-rounder Ivan Lodnia and fourth-rounder Bryce Misley — were born on Aug. 31, 1999, and Sept. 5, 1999, respectively. The youngest player chosen in any class must turn 18 by Sept. 15 of the given draft year.
So the Wild took two of the youngest players — players a mere couple of weeks away from the cutoff date — which made me wonder if that was just a coincidence or an actual strategy. If Canadian youth hockey — as written about many years ago by Malcolm Gladwell in "Outliers" — skews toward the oldest players who are more developed, do drafting teams want the youngest ones available who maybe have more room for growth?
"It's not off the wall at all," Wild assistant GM Brent Flahr wrote in response to my e-mail question. "It's kind of the Gladwell theory and we've discussed it a number of times with our staff."
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