Season Preview: Wild Times in Minnesota

Minnesota GM Josh Rose doesn't foresee many changes to the club he's assembled ahead of the debut season of BEARD Hockey.



Going Into the inaugural Dispersal Draft for the first ever BEARD Hockey season, we really didn’t have any clue who might be available at the midpoint of the first round considering we knew we’d be selecting 15th.


As things would shake out, we came down to a decision between Seth Jones and Sebastian Aho and went with the top pairing cornerstone defenseman. There just wasn’t many of the upper echelon defensemen we liked as much as the forwards available in the coming rounds so it made that decision that much easier.


GM Josh Rose said in a statement the great state of hockey is ecstatic to introduce Seth Jones as the first member of the Minnesota Wild beard hockey roster.


"Seth is an outstanding puck mover, defender, and just always makes the right play with the puck," said Rose. "He’s a guy we feel can help develop future studs on the backend as well."


Over the next couple of rounds, we focused on adding forwards in Jonathan Huberdeau and Teuvo Teravainen. We wanted to add skill with term and guys we felt we could build with towards the future.


As the draft progressed into the 5th and 6th rounds, we noticed a run on the higher-end young goalies and we didn’t want come up empty. So, we snatched up Thatcher Demko. We believe we’ll be using Demko in a platoon type situation this season and hopefully moving forward he can be a 60+ game starter for us.


The thought process in this draft for us was not necessarily a win-now approach. We wanted to be competitive while also focusing on building a young talented roster. One of the biggest reasons we invested a 4th round pick in the Colorado Avalanche prospect group was to ensure we could build from within with a great prospect group.


The ability to have a high-end defenseman like Bowen Byram who we believe is the best defensemen to come out of the WHL in a long time was enticing. Coupled with the fact that we also add Alex Newhook to our system, who we are confident can develop into a top-6 forward and ideally a top-line center.


Justus Annunen also came as part of that package, who we believe is one of the most talented goalie prospects to come out of Finland in many years. It was one of the few prospect groups where we add high-end players at all the key parts of our organization.


Going into the Entry Draft, we also made the executive decision that when the time comes we would pull the trigger on drafting a top-10 draft picks package and we actually got the player we we targeting with that pick in Cole Perfetti. We believe Cole has elite offensive abilities and a killer instinct to produce in big moments. He’s the kind of forward that makes you appreciate just how much he can impact a game.


In the 2nd round, to be able to draft Alex Tuch, who should have been long gone by this point in the draft, we were ecstatic. He’s a really physical forward, fast, plays a nasty game, and as his offense improves, we feel he will be a player teams will be like 'how did that guy fall into the 2nd round?'


After the conclusion of the Entry Draft, Rose was a little bit uneasy with his roster. His top-line center William Karlsson is a really good player - but he’s a 'one and done' player. Second line center Christian Dvorak is a decent player but we’d be asking way to much of him to be a top-line C following the departure of Karlsson.


With our top-end prospect still too many years away from filling that role, we decided to go to the trade route and make a huge move. Our initial target was Sebastian Aho and when that didn’t come to fruition, we set our sights on Dylan Larkin.


It was a long and grueling negotiation as Mathias and myself both wanted to make sure we were being smart with our rosters moving forward. After about 12 hours, we came to an agreement with eight players and one draft pick moving in this deal.


We really loved the idea of adding Larkin. We can lock him up until he’s 31 years old, and Jake DeBrusk is another player we really love. He’s a player we have for a lot of term, and we know this player can develop into a good 2nd line winger who’s young and cost efficient. Lucas Wallmark and James Neal just add depth in the short term. Hopefully Wallmark can be relied on to kill some penalties and be a 3rd line center.


Taking a look at how the depth chart is shaping up for opening night, we feel we have a good mix of youth and veterans.


LW - C - RW:

Dustin Brown(76) - Dylan Larkin(79) - Tom Wilson(76)

Jake Debrusk (72) - William Karlsson(77) - James Neal(74)

Joel Farabee(69) - Lucas Wallmark(70) - Emil Bemstrom(70)

Cole Perfetti (66) - Brian Boyle(73) - Troy Terry(68)


LD - RD:

Seth Jones(80) - Marcus Pettersson(73) Devon Toews(73) - Alex Goligoski(77) Travis Dermott(71) - Nick Holden(74)

Andrew Peeke(69)


G's:

Thatcher Demko(74)

Corey Crawford (79)


Top Prospects:

Bowen Byram

Alex Newhook

Johnny Beecher

Justus Annunen

Luke Tuch

Eetu Luostarinen

Dmitri Samorukov

Alex Beaucage


Rose doesn’t foresee too much movement as we edge closer to the season - maybe a few small tweaks here and there. But expect nothing earth shattering.


We look forward to a new beginning at the Xcel Energy Center.

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