The Wild’s season might be finished, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some immediate intrigue involving the team.
The Wild will find out at 5 p.m. Monday (NBC Sports Network) whether they will get the top-overall pick in the NHL draft. The league will conduct the second phase of its draft lottery after the first phase awarded the first pick to a placeholder team that would compete in the qualifying round of the playoffs.
That round came to an end for the Wild on Friday night with their overtime loss to Vancouver in the Western Conference bubble in Edmonton. That means Minnesota is among eight teams with a 12.5 percent chance to get the top pick and have an opportunity to grab Quebec Major Junior left winger Alexis Lafreniere, who is considered the top talent available.
Having wingers Kevin Fiala, Kirill Kaprizov, who finally signed with the Wild after playing in Russia, and Lafreniere would give the Wild more offensive firepower than they have ever had.
The Wild have never had the top-overall pick and will join Edmonton, Florida, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Winnipeg, and the Rangers as teams with a chance to win the lottery.
If the Wild don’t get the top pick, they will select ninth in the Oct. 9 draft. Minnesota was helped by the fact that Arizona, Chicago and Montreal — all teams that had a worse point percentage than the Wild — have advanced to the first round of the playoffs.
The Wild’s highest draft pick came in 2000, when the expansion team took winger Marian Gaborik third overall. The team’s second-highest pick was winger Benoit Pouliot, who went fourth in 2005.