With the 2011 NHL Draft just a few days away, it's time to take a look at what positions the Minnesota Wild should be focusing their energy on. When you take a look at the Wild's prospect base, there are a couple of obvious positions of strength, and places that could use some shoring up.
When it comes to strengths in the Wild system, the first place to look is at goaltending. Niklas Backstrom is signed through 2013, and Minnesota has a number of strong developmental prospects in the wings such as Matt Hackett, the team's third-round pick in 2009, and Darcy Kuemper, among others. The future also appears to be getting brighter at the wing spots, with players such as Brett Bulmer, Erik Haula, and Jason Zucker having shown good progress this past season.
However, the Wild's biggest weakness, as anyone that watched the team in 2010-11 will attest, is putting the puck into the net. In the Western Conference, only the Edmonton Oilers scored fewer goals than the Wild, and Martin Havlat's 22 goals were enough to lead the team for the season. As a result, we can probably expect the Wild's early picks to be spent on players with a reputation as playmakers, whether it's on the wings or at the center spot.
We will look at a couple of potential prospects for the Wild over the next couple of days here as well, particularly those that have an opportunity to be selected with Minnesota's first-round pick, the tenth overall selection.