After pulling off a trade on the morning of Day 2 of the NHL draft, general manager Bill Guerin followed it up with a couple more trades to give director of amateur scouting Judd Brackett a chance to take some big swings in the draft.
The Wild traded up three times Wednesday, Oct. 7, netting themselves a number of players they hope will make an impact down the road.
“I’m real happy with the last couple of days,” Guerin said. “I feel that we added five very good young hockey players to our organization, and we have a lot of faith in our player development guys, and we’ll work closely with these players to try to get them to the next level.”
In addition to drafting highly coveted center Marco Rossi with the No. 9 overall pick on Tuesday night, the Wild nabbed Russian center Marat Khusnutdinov and defenseman Ryan O’Rourke in the second round Wednesday, then closed out the draft by selecting defenseman Daemon Hunt and winger Pavel Novak in later rounds.
The fact that Guerin was willing to trade up with no hesitation showed much trust he has in Brackett, who was running the Wild draft table for the first time.
“I think Judd did an amazing job of managing the draft,” Guerin said. “I’m taking direction from him. I’m letting him know the information that’s coming across my phone and he’s setting the direction. I thought he did a fantastic job, and I’m very, very happy with it.”
Looking back on the draft, Brackett was happy with the value the Wild got with all of their picks.
“We had to let the draft play itself out a little bit,” Brackett said. “If we see somebody we like, and we have a chance to do it, we have to at least explore it. It has to make sense for us as well. It’s not going to be an every-year approach. It was nice to do it, and these were all players that we identified amongst the scouting staff and talked about internally. There was a real plan.”
Here’s a breakdown of the players the Wild selected Wednesday:
Marat Khusnutdinov, No. 37
Age 18, 5-foot-11, 176 pounds
- Position: Center
- Stats: 13 goals, 25 assists in 44 games last season for SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)
- Quote: “Marat is an elite skater, two-way center with speed and has creative offensive vision.” — Brackett
Ryan O'Rourke, No. 39
Age 18, 6 feet, 178 pounds
- Position: Defenseman
- Stats: 7 goals, 30 assists in 54 games last season for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
- Quote: “Ryan is another strong skater, two-way defender with great character and grit.” — Brackett
Daemon Hunt, No. 65
Age 18, 6 feet, 198 pounds
- Position: Defenseman
- Stats: 0 goals, 15 assists in 28 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
- Quote: “Daemon is a hard-nosed two-way defender with excellent mobility and has strong leadership skills.” — Brackett
Pavel Novak, No. 146
Age 18, 5-foot-9, 170 pounds
- Position: Wing
- Stats: 25 goals, 33 assists in 55 games last season for the Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
- Quote: “Pavel is a smart possession center with good vision and puck distribution skill.” — Brackett