31 in 31: Top Ten Prospects Vol. 15 – Minnesota Wild

Welcome back to my 31 in 31 series.

Last time, we took a look at the Los Angeles Kings’ farm system and the rookies they would have representing the black and silver in the future, which featured a list highlighted by Rasmus Kupari, Gabriel Vilardi, and Kale Clague. Today, we’re going to take a trip to the state of hockey and check out who the Minnesota Wild will have in the big leagues sooner or later. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

1. Kirill Kaprizov (RW, 5th Round, 135th Overall in 2015)

Kaprizov is easily the Wild’s best prospect, but with that pick comes a lot of risk. Kaprizov has first round talent, but went in the fifth round because there’s question surrounding whether or not he will come over to the NHL or if he’ll stay in his native Russia. I still have him ranked as top prospect for the simple fact that if he does choose to come over, he will instantly become a top six forward for them, more than likely on the top line. He currently has 25 points in 35 games playing for CSKA Moskva of the KHL.

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2. Luke Kunin (C, 1st Round, 15th Overall in 2016)

Drafted in the middle of the first round in 2016, Kunin is an incredibly smart player with good two-way instincts and an accurate shot. After playing out one final season in the NCAA, Kunin signed his entry level contract and is currently bouncing back and forth between the Iowa Wild and the Minnesota Wild, having put up 15 points in 21 games in the AHL this season.

3. Dmitri Sokolov (RW, 7th Round, 196th Overall)

To put it bluntly, what Sokolov did to the OHL last year was simply unfair. After being traded from Sudbury to the Barrie Colts, he put up 58 points in 28 games. Why exactly Sokolov slipped as far as the 7th round is unknown, but the Wild aren’t complaining. He’s currently in his first AHL season and has 14 points in 19 games.

4. Kaapo Kahkonen (G, 4th Round, 109th Overall in 2014)

After a couple of very, very successful seasons overseas in his native Finland, Kahkonen is currently in the middle of his first pro season in North America and has reminded us all why he’s far and away the best goalie prospect in the Wild organization. He currently has a record of 6-3-2 with a goals against average of 2.17 and a save percentage of .925, while sporting three shutouts to his name.

5. Alexander Khovanov (C, 3rd Round, 86th Overall in 2018)

Khovanov was drafted in the third round last year and he’s been producing like he wants to prove to teams that he should have been picked sooner. He’s currently playing for the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL and has 43 points in 34 games thus far. He has a tendency to manipulate the pace of the game and will likely be in the pros sooner rather than later.

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6. Filip Johansson (D, 1st Round, 24th Overall in 2018)

Johansson was one of the most surprising picks of the first round in 2018. While he wasn’t projected to go until late second round and beyond in most mock drafts, the Wild clearly saw something that other teams didn’t and decided to take a flyer on Johansson early on. He’s currently playing for Leksands IF of the Allsvenskan in Sweden, but only has one point to show for in 27 games. He could turn out to be a solid defenseman, but will definitely be a long term project.

7. Jack McBain (C, 3rd Round, 63rd Overall in 2018)

Drafted 23 picks before fellow prospect Alex Khovanov, McBain turned heads playing for the Toronto Jr Canadiens of the OJHL where he put up 58 points in 48 games. The 6’3 centre is now playing for Boston College of the NCAA where he currently has four points in 11 games thus far.

8. Mason Shaw (C, 4th Round, 97th Overall in 2017)

After missing almost the entirety of the 2017-18 season with a torn ACL and MCL, Shaw came back in full force this season and is off to a very good start with the Iowa Wild, with 17 points in 27 games so far. He suffers a setback in size, standing at only 5’9, but has the skill to make a name for himself in the pros.

9. Louis Belpedio (D, 3rd Round, 80th Overall in 2014)

The Wild have seemed to have lots of success in the third round lately. Drafted 80th Overall in 2014, Belpedio is currently in his first pro season after four seasons with Miami University (Ohio) of the NCAA. He’s currently playing for the Iowa Wild where he has seven points in his first 27 games with the club.

10. Ivan Lodnia (RW, 3rd Round, 85th Overall in 2017)

Yet another third round pick, Lodnia is currently in what will likely be his final season in the OHL before making the jump to the pros. He’s currently playing for the ever-stacked Niagara IceDogs where he’s got 32 points in 30 games thus far.

Thanks for reading! Tune in tomorrow where we’ll take a look at La Belle Province and check out the Montreal Canadiens farm system.

stats from eliteprospects.com

featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals

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