Iowa Wild issued the following announcement on June 19.
Championship trophies across all of hockey have been awarded, signifying the end of the 2017-18 hockey season. Starting Friday, teams will stop looking at the season that was and start looking at the season ahead.
The 2018 NHL Entry Draft will take place Friday and Saturday, June 22-23, in Dallas. The first round occurs Friday evening, with rounds two through seven taking place the following day. This year, Minnesota Wild holds the 24th overall draft, one of eight picks (as of Monday) the team has in the draft.
At his introductory press conference, Wild GM Paul Fenton said this about the draft:
“The strength of every organization is the draft. It’s the way we develop, it’s the way we’re going to put our minor league system in place. I’ve run Milwaukee for pretty much 20 years, I’ve had my hand in there even when I was director of player personnel. I believe that your minor league team has to be your vaulting stone to get to the next level. That’s the biggest part, to draft and develop, and put the right plan in place and then go forward.”
Throughout the years, 36 players who were drafted by Minnesota have skated for Iowa Wild in at least one game. Of those 36, 22 made their AHL debut with Iowa. At least one player from every draft, starting with the 2006 draft, has played a game with Iowa Wild.
Iowa Wild skated 46 players during the course of the 2017-18 season, and of those 46, 14 were Iowa Wild drafted players, making up 30 percent of the roster. Including players drafted by other NHL teams in the draft, exactly half of last year’s roster was selected in an entry draft.
Those players drafted by Minnesota make up a significant portion of the future of the organization, both in the NHL and AHL. Players such as Luke Kunin, Joel Eriksson Ek, Carson Soucy and Nick Seeler made important contributions with Iowa before slotting into the big club’s lineup. Veterans such as Jason Zucker and Matt Dumba spent a few years in the minors, including some time with Iowa, before becoming core members of Minnesota. And players such as Dmitry Sokolov, Ivan Lodnia and Mason Shaw represent the new wave of players ready to make their mark on the organization.
The draft marks the first big event of the offseason, giving hockey fans something to talk about and the chance to get excited about the future of the club. Minnesota sits at 24th this year, which means whoever is selected probably won’t see St. Paul for a few seasons. But Iowa fans should pay attention, because he could be here sooner rather than later.
And as players such as Kunin, Seeler and Eriksson Ek have shown, the path to Minnesota makes a stop in Iowa.
Original source can be found here.