The NHL Draft is going to kick off in less than a week for that. Unfortunately for the Wild, the Minnesota Wild are not on the board in the first round, and as of now, do not pick until the 46th pick, roughly in the middle of the second round.
What can we expect from this pick? Perhaps looking at who was selected in the 46th slot may help us with that? Especially if I added some simplistic commentary as to what value those picks yielded?
2012: Raphael Bussieres LW, Minnesota Wild. Yes, the Wild gained this selection last year, thanks to Marek Zidlicky. About the best thing he ever did for the Wild. Anyway, Bussieres was considered to be a project power forward- pretty similar to Brett Bulmer. Had a great leap in the Q last year. Way too early to tell if he has an NHL future.
2011: Joel Edmundson D, St. Louis Blues. Edmundson was picked after a run of interesting forwards in Ty Rattie (32), Rocco Grimaldi (33), Tomas Jurco (35), Boone Jenner (37), Alexander Khokhlachev (40), Brandon Saad (43), and Finnish Baby John the Baptist (Markus Granlund; 45). The hulking blueliner appears to be an OK prospect, but not one looking to have major impact with an NHL team, barring some unforeseen development.
2010: Martin Marincin D, Edmonton Oilers. Another player with a Minnesota Wild connection, albeit an unfortunate one. Marincin gave Jason Zucker a concussion at the 2010 WJC. So screw him. But, in all seriousness, Marincin remains a solid defensive prospect who has a 6'5" frame (that he could likely stand to add weight to, still), and skill (30 points in 69 AHL games as a rookie). If this pick turned into that, you'd be very happy.
2009: Robin Lehner G, Ottawa Senators: Lehner got an extended cup of coffee this season, and was impressive, sporting a .936 save percentage in 12 games, and a .920 during two playoff games. He has an NHL career ahead of him, and maybe even a very good one, which is a definite success from a mid-second-rounder.
2008: Colby Robak D, Florida Panthers: Robak has been pretty good at the AHL level, scoring 0.45 PPG from the blueline in the last two seasons (62 points in 139 games). He has yet to put it together in the NHL (1 assist in 19 games), but as a big puck-mover, he'll contribute even if the offense never fully materializes.
2007: Theo Ruth D, Washington Capitals: Playing with Columbus' AHL team, the slow-footed Ruth seems unlikely to ever make an NHL team. Either the most recent misfire with the 46th pick, or (more likely) the most recent 46th pick that we're certain won't make the NHL.
2006: Jhonas Enroth G, Buffalo Sabres: Enroth has shown the last couple of years that he's at least an capable NHL backup. It took Buffalo about 5 years for this pick to materialize in a clearly competent NHL-er.
2003: Dan Fritsche C/LW, Columbus Blue Jackets: Nestled between Patrice Bergeron (45th) and Shea Weber (48th), the Blue Jackets got Dan Fritsche from their 46th pick in the now-legendary 2003 draft. He played in the NHL for a while, never giving anything resembling star-level play, but posting a respectable 76 points in 256 games, including 9 in 34 with the Minnesota Wild in 08-09. He's now playing in the Swiss league.
So, what can we expect from the pick? It's been a mixed bag, as most second-round picks are, and the 46th pick appears to tend to be shortly after the point that first-round falling talents get snatched up for nice bargains. I would guess that our highest reasonable expectation for this pick is a player who can contribute in a decent role for an NHL club. Considering some of the second round picks the Wild have had, like Jason Zucker, that seems to be a pretty nice thing.