NASHVILLE — The Wild choosing a center in the first round of the NHL draft and then again with their next pick wasn't a coincidence.

That was by design, an intentional plan that supplied their pipeline with more options and a specific skill set at a key position.

"Very happy with the way things worked out," General Manager Bill Guerin said. "I think we really filled some needs in the prospect pool."

After selecting Rosemount's Charlie Stramel 21st overall during Round 1 on Wednesday night at Bridgestone Arena, the Wild tabbed another 6-3 center in Rasmus Kumpulainen on Thursday at 53 with their first of two second-rounders.

Even their third acquisition, Riley Heidt (No. 64), plays up the middle. But that decision was the Wild simply following their order; only the Stramel and Kumpulainen additions were position-focused.

Actually, in picking Stramel, the Wild skipped over a player on their board because of how great they felt the need was at center.

"Just having someone higher on our list doesn't necessarily mean they're the right fit for us," said Judd Brackett, director of amateur scouting.

Stramel, who grew up attending Wild games, had a down season as a freshman on a Wisconsin team that struggled. The Badgers went 6-18 in the Big Ten, dismissed longtime coach Tony Granato after the season and brought in Mike Hastings from Minnesota State Mankato to take over.

Not only is more production on Stramel's radar as a sophomore, but he also wants to bring more bite to his game; both Guerin and Brackett highlighted Stramel's athleticism.

"He's going to be a cornerstone to their revival," Brackett said, "and we're excited about that, and we believe in him as well."

In Kumpulainen, the Wild appreciate his vision and puck protection aside from his size.

He had 11 goals and 23 assists through 41 games last season for Pelicans Jr. in Finland. Kumpulainen also turned in a point-per-game performance at the IIHF Under-18 World Championship.

"They're different players in their own right," Brackett said. "But the size, the sense, the power in their game is something that we clearly needed."

As for Heidt, he was what Brackett called "a pleasant surprise."

His 72 assists for Prince George tied for the most in the Western Hockey League. Who else had 72 helpers? Connor Bedard, the face of the 2023 draft class who went first overall to Chicago. Heidt's 97 points overall tied for fourth.

"This is obviously when the hard work starts," Heidt said. "I'm going to do everything to prove that I can be there."

With their last three draft choices, the Wild landed a few familiar names.

Hermantown's Aaron Pionk, a defenseman, went 149th overall in the fifth round. His dad, Scott, once coached at Waterloo in the United States Hockey League where Pionk appeared last season (Pionk is Minnesota Duluth-bound), and his older brother Neal is in the NHL with Winnipeg.

Another defenseman, Kalem Parker out of Victoria in the WHL, was next in the sixth round (181). Then in Round 7, the Wild called winger Jimmy Clark at No. 213.

Clark was a standout at Edina High and racked up 19 goals and nearly 50 points last season with Green Bay in the USHL; he's committed to the Gophers.

But the wave of Minnesotans wasn't the only trademark of this draft class.

So was that influx of centers, with Stramel, Kumpulainen and Heidt joining the likes of Marat Khusnutdinov (2020) and Hunter Haight (2022). The Wild have even discussed one of last year's first-rounders, Danila Yurov, someone with strong vision and puck-moving ability, having the potential to slot up the middle.

Most intriguing continues to be Marco Rossi, the 2020 ninth overall pick who made the Wild out of training camp last season before returning to the minors.

"We don't need him to be ready Day 1," Guerin said. "We would love it if he was. But if we don't have him, we can do something else."

Last season's mainstays up the middle, Joel Eriksson Ek and Frederick Gaudreau, are signed long-term, while Ryan Hartman and Connor Dewar each have a year left on their respective contracts.

Even so, the draft added more center possibilities to the Wild's depth chart.

"It's such a critical position," Brackett said. "Now we have some different forms of it."