Wild takes defenseman from Sweden with their top pick in the draft
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Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher expresed a desire to trade back into the first round at the NHL draft on Sunday at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
That did not happen, however, meaning Fletcher had to wait until the 46th pick in the second round to make his first selection of the draft.
That pick was used on defenseman Gustav Olofsson from Sweden. That started a theme for the day for the Wild, who used four of their seven picks on defensemen and another on a goalie.
Olofsson, who is 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, played for Green Bay of the United States Hockey League. He was selected to the USHL's All-Rookie team and played in the USHL-NHL top prospects game.
Olofsson appeared in 63 games with the Gamblers and had two goals and 21 assists. He finished as a plus-11 in plus-minus rankings and had 59 penalty minutes. Olofsson was ranked 51st amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting's final rankings before the draft.
The website, eliteprospects.com, had this scouting report on Olofsson:"a smart two-way defenseman with good size and overall skills. Skates well and plays the body. Quite unspectacular and prefers to make the easy play. Good positioning."
One pick after the Wild selected Olofsson, the St. Louis Blues took defenseman Tommy Vannelli of Minnetonka High School.
In the third round, the Wild selected right winger Kurtis Gabriel (6-3, 206 pounds) with the 81st pick overall. Gabriel has been playing for Owen Sound of the OHL.
The Wild took defensemen in the fourth, fifth rounds and seventh rounds, grabbing Dylan Labbe (6-1, 180 pounds) with the 107th pick, Carson Soucy (6-4, 191 pounds) with the 137th pick and Nolan De Jong (6-2, 173 pounds) with the 197th pick.
Labbe plays junior hockey for Shawinigan of the QMJHL, Soucy has been with Spruce Grove of the AJHL and De Jong is a member of Victoria of the BCHL.
The Wild made Grand Rapids (Minn.) High School center Avery Peterson (6-2, 194 pounds) their sixth-round pick (167th).
The Wild's final pick of the draft came in the seventh round (200th overall) and was used on goalie Alexandre Belanger (6 feet, 170 pounds) of Rouyn-Noranda of the QMJHL.
The Wild dealt its first-round selection to Buffalo in the Jason Pominville trade.