DALLAS - After tons of trade speculation in the days leading up to the NHL draft, the Wild decided to stand pat on Friday night, June 22, at American Airlines Arena, selecting Swedish defenseman Filip Johansson with the No. 24 overall pick.
"I can't describe it in words," Johansson said, adding that he didn't expect to go in the first round. "Just hearing my name was crazy."
While it'll likely be a few years before Johansson even sniffs the NHL, the 18-year-old will forever be tied to new general manager Paul Fenton as the first player drafted in his tenure in the Twin Cities.
Johansson spent the bulk of last season with the Leksand Junior Team in Sweden, finishing with four goals and five assists. He described himself as "a solid player" with some untapped offensive potential on the blue line.
"You (look at) my stats and I haven't shown that much," Johansson said. "I think I have more than that."
Johansson models his game after Edmonton Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson and is realistic that he won't be in the NHL for awhile.
"I think I need some time," Johansson said. "Maybe one or two years in Sweden and then play in the American Hockey League or something like that. Like I said, I need to build strength and all that stuff. That can take a little bit of time. I don't want to stress things out."
It was a rather anticlimactic finish to Round 1 for the Wild, especially with some of the rumors swirling before the draft.
That said, Fenton held true on his promise to stay patient, emphasizing that he wasn't going to make a move for the sake of making a move. He noted that he has "touched base" with a number of teams over the past week or so, though he fervently downplayed the notion that players like Jason Zucker, Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle have been floated on the open market.
"If people are being talked, about that's just people doing their jobs," Fenton insisted. "I'm always going to be willing to listen to whatever is out there. If something transpires, then it transpires. It's only speculation. Until something happens, we're not going to say anything about any particular player."
It's still possible the Wild will make a move at some point this weekend. They boast seven picks on Saturday afternoon, including three third-round picks, two fifth-round picks, a sixth-round pick and a seventh-round pick.
Hopkins, Minn., native K'Andre Miller was selected by the New York Rangers with the No. 22 overall pick. He was the first Minnesotan taken in the draft.