SUNRISE, FLA. – With five picks on Day 2 of the NHL draft Saturday, it’ll be interesting to see if the Wild selects a goaltender.
Chuck Fletcher makes it a point of emphasis at every draft, and if Devan Dubnyk is ultimately signed long-term, there will come a point where the Wild general manager might look at trading Darcy Kuemper.
So the Wild will be trying to develop the next so-called “Goalie of the Future.”
“I don’t feel as much urgency this year because we just signed Brody Hoffman [out of University of Vermont], we’re working toward signing [draft pick] Stephen Michalek and we’re really happy with [draft pick Kaapo] Kahkonen’s development in Finland,” Fletcher said. “But every year we’d like to try at least to draft one goalie.”
Fletcher said there’s a group of three or four goalies that the team really likes. The only goalie taken in the first round Friday was Russia’s Ilya Samsonov, 22nd overall by the Washington Capitals. Other top-ranked goalies left include Barrie’s MacKenzie Blackwood, Quebec’s Callum Booth, Veini Vehvilainen from Finland, Topeka’s Matej Tomek and Daniel Vladar from the Czech Republic.
All the top goalies in the draft have good size, which is now a prerequisite for Wild goalies.
Many teams avoid taking goaltenders in the first round because it takes four or five years for most to arrive. Some scouts go as far as to say a goalie needs to play 300 pro games before you know if he has what it takes.
“It’s such a mental position, so you’ve got to be a real special talent to consider a goalie in the first round,” Wild assistant GM Brent Flahr said. “With goaltending, you have to have expectations of waiting if you want to develop them properly,
“So you have to have patience, which is why some teams stay away.”
Boeser goes to Vancouver
Burnsville’s Brock Boeser became the first Minnesotan taken in the first round in three years Friday night when the Wild fan was chosen by the Vancouver Canucks 23rd overall.
Boeser was diplomatic when asked if he hated one of the Wild’s biggest rivals growing up.
“Oh no, I was too young,” Boeser said.
The University of North Dakota-bound right winger was ecstatic as he sat with eight family members.
“It’s a dream come true,” Boeser said. “I couldn’t be more proud. It’s hard to take it all in.”
Minnesotans Paul Bittner and Thomas Novak are expected to be the first two Minnesotans taken on Day 2 of the draft Saturday.
• There will be no changes in terms of roles on the Wild’s coaching staff, Mike Yeo said. Andrew Brunette will remain in charge of the power play. The Wild ranked 27th last season.
• The Wild will replace its Iowa Wild assistant coaches this season. Former Wild forward Richard Park will return as player development coach, but head coach John Torchetti is currently interviewing for an assistant coach, a goalie/skills coach and a video coach.
• Sabres GM Tim Murray kidded Friday, “Where’s Chuck [Fletcher]? I need a second-round pick.” Murray is one of Fletcher’s best friends from their days working together in Florida and Anaheim.
The Sabres have acquired four second-round picks from the Wild since 2013.