• The Twins have the No. 1 choice in the draft this year for the first time since Joe Mauer in 2001, and new Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey said that no matter whom they select, it probably will be a little while before the player is ready for the major leagues. “I think the reality is, when you look at a draft in baseball, most of those guys are at least a few years out. There’s the rare occasion where someone comes in and steps in right away. I would anticipate this draft being one where we’re going to look for a player who we can grow and develop the long term.”
• Timberwolves CEO Ethan Casson was asked if the team is targeting new season-ticket holders by focusing on the soon-to-be-renovated Target Center, or on the potential of young stars such as Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. “I think at the end of the day, the idea that we’ve got so much to be optimistic about on the court with these young guys, and the future and the potential, loads of potential, that these guys have on the court,” Casson said. Incidentally, the NBA draft lottery is Tuesday in New York, and Wiggins will represent the Wolves on air, with team VP Brad Ruiter in the room where the Ping-Pong balls are drawn before the broadcast.
• Twins President Dave St. Peter recently spoke of the team’s desire to play host to an NHL Winter Classic game at Target Field. “We’ve said from the start we think this would be a great venue for hockey and obviously the Minnesota Wild is aware of that,” he said. “If they were ever fortunate enough to get a Winter Classic, we think Target Field would be the optimal home.” The Wild’s lone outdoor game was played at TCF Bank Stadium in February 2016.
• The Gophers had 17 players in the NHL this season. Blake Wheeler (2006-08) was the top scorer of those players, with 74 points (26 goals, 48 assists) in playing all 82 games for the Winnipeg Jets.