CHICAGO - Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher joked that coach Bruce Boudreau was bored on Friday night during the first round of this year's NHL draft.
Fletcher started to get a little bored himself as potential trades became less and less likely as the night wore on.
"There weren't that many conversations," Fletcher said. "We like our group. We worked hard to keep this group, so we're certainly content to start the year this way. If something happens that we can improve our team, then we'll do it. To me, this was a weekend about the draft, and today was a little bit more exciting than yesterday."
With no picks in the opening two rounds of the draft, the Wild finally made their first selection on Saturday morning at the United Center, taking Ivan Lodnia of the Eerie Otters of Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the No. 85 overall pick.
Fletcher, along with senior vice president of hockey operations Brent Flahr, made it clear that the Wild specifically targeted players who they felt had a lot of potential.
"That was our thought process going in," Flahr said. "Go for upside."
Lodnia, a Los Angeles native, finished last season with 24 goals and 33 assists over 66 games regular-season games. He chipped in with a pair of goals during a playoff run that saw the Otters win the OHL championship.
"He played on a team that was extremely deep," Flahr said. "So I think late in the year he didn't get to play as much. You know, next year he's going to put up significantly higher numbers and he'll have more of an offensive role."
Lodnia described himself as a two-way player with potential to be a playmaker at the next level. "I try to be an offensive threat in the O zone and really reliable in the D zone," he said.
After Lodnia, the Wild snagged Mason Shaw with the No. 97 overall pick and Bryce Misley with the No. 116 overall pick.
Shaw played on the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League (WHL) last season, finishing with 27 goals and 67 assists in the regular season, while adding 12 assists in the playoffs.
"He's a ball of energy," Flahr said. "He's one of those guys that our guys think has the chance to beat the odds. He'll run through a wall for his teammates and play in any situation. Just a character kid."
Shaw said he plans to spend one more year in the WHL and then hopes to turn pro.
"That's my goal," Shaw said. "I'm going to do everything I can to achieve that."
Misley was a member of the Oakville Blades of the Ontario Junior A Hockey League (OJHL) last season, finishing the regular season with 62 points (26 goals, 36 assists) and the playoffs with 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists). He plans to attend the University of Vermont next season.
Other picks for the Wild included Jacob Golden of the London Knights of the OHL (No. 147 overall), Andrei Svetlakov of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in Russia (No. 178 overall), and Nick Swaney (No. 209 overall) of the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League (USHL).
Fletcher said ultimately this year's draft was about taking chances.
"We tried to maximize our darts for higher skill and we weren't as concerned about size," he said. "Just trying to find really good players, and I think Brent and his staff found a few good ones."