Wild Blog: The 2014 Minnesota Wild Draft Picks: What You Need To Know
Written by Craig Schroepfer
The 2014 NHL Draft has come and gone and the next generation of Minnesota Wild players have been chosen.
Here is what you need to know about the other players drafted by Minnesota.
3rd Round Pick – Louis Belpedio
The Wild traded back one spot in the 3rd round with Tampa Bay, acquiring a 2015 7th round pick in the process before drafting Belpedio.
Belpedio is a defenseman who played on the U.S. National Development Team with Minnesota’s 1st round pick Alex Tuch. Last year with USNDT Belpedio had 20 points (7G, 13A) in 53 games.
Belpedio describes himself as a defenseman who plays in all three zones of the ice and tries to jump in and be offensive whenever he can. Belpedio models his game after Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, who is his favorite player.
Belpedio grew up a Chicago Blackhawks fan but has already said he has switched over to being a Minnesota Wild fan. He is set to go to the University of Miami, Ohio in the fall.
4th Round Pick – Kaapo Kahkonen
The thought at some point in the draft was that the Wild would add a goaltender and that’s what they did here in selecting Kahkonen from Espoo Blues Jr. in Finland.
He describes himself as a butterfly goalie who models his game after Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who happens to be his favorite player.
Kahkonen plans on playing in Finland for the next couple years as he gets ready before he comes over to play for Minnesota.
5th Round Pick – Tanner Faith
Faith is a defenseman who plays for the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League. Faith missed most of the season with a shoulder injury. In 10 games with Kootenay last year he had only one assist. Minnesota assistant GM Brent Flahr said that if Faith didn’t hurt his shoulder he would have gone higher in the draft.
At that point in the draft the Wild felt it was a quality risk to select Faith.
Faith is 6’3, 211 pounds and will add some size to the blueline.
6th Round Pick – Pontus Sjalin
Sjalin is a defenseman who played for Ostersunds in Sweden. He is described as being a smooth skater and very intelligent on the ice.
Sjalin may be very mobile buts needs to put some weight on and get stronger as he develops.
6th Round Pick – Chase Lang
Lang is a center who plays for the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League. He had 25 points (10G, 15A) in 68 games last season.
Lang describes himself as a two way forward who is a good skater and sees the ice very well. He models his game after Claude Giroux and Brayden Schenn of the Philadelphia Flyers.
6th Round Pick – Reid Duke
Two picks later the Wild chose another center from the Western Hockey League in Duke who played for Lethbridge. In 62 games for the Hurricanes, Duke had 15 goals and 25 assists.
Much like Sjalin he’ll have to put on some weight and get stronger as he develops.
7th Round Pick – Pavel Jenys
Jenys played for Brno in the Czech Republic. In 26 games with Brno, Jenys had 13 goals and six assists. He is a big two way center with unlimited offensive ability.
He is expected to come over to North America next year and play in the Canadian Hockey League.