The Minnesota Wild have only made 11 draft picks in the last two years, but it sure seems like they made some good ones based on what’s happening at the World Juniors.
Russian forward Kirill Kaprizov, a fifth-round pick in 2015, leads the tourney with seven goals.
Swedish forward Joel Eriksson-Ek, a first-round pick in 2015, isn’t far behind with five goals.
American forwards Jordan Greenway and Luke Kunin have also shown well. The former was a second-round pick in 2015; the latter was a first-round pick in 2016.
“It’s been fun to see our guys performing so well,” said assistant GM Brent Flahr, per the StarTribune.
It’s been encouraging, too, given the Wild have a number of older core players, especially up front. Mikko Koivu is 33; Eric Staal and Zach Parise are each 32. Those three are all under contract through at least next season, and they can all still contribute.
But there isn’t a team in the NHL that doesn’t need a constant supply of young talent, and it’s harder for good teams like the Wild, who haven’t missed the playoffs since 2012.
Minnesota has another promising forward in Alex Tuch, a 20-year-old who’s currently in the AHL. Tuch was the 18th overall pick in 2014.
Related: Looking to make the leap: Alex Tuch