You've waited a long time for this day Wilderness. Today, we finally get to draft for the Minnesota Wild. By the luck of the draw I have been tasked with making this selection today. So without further ado...
With the 18th overall selection in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, the Minnesota Wild are proud to select, Joshua Ho-Sang, forward for the Windsor Spitfires.
I went through a lot of names, read a lot of bio's and scouting reports. It came down to a small handful of players but in the end Ho-Sang edged out his competition. Lets look at why Joshua was just a step ahead of the rest at this point in the draft.
Who's wandering the Wilderness
For the most part, you should all be pretty familiar with, at the very least some of the names of the kids wandering the trail, trying to find their way to St. Paul to play for the Wild. Defensmen such as Mathew Dumba and Gustav Olofsson will be making their way to the Iowa Wild this season with a good chance that one of them will find their way on to the Wild's roster. Christian Folin signed as on undrafted free agent and will also get a good look coming into this season on the blue line.
The Wild have some good depth at Center with Zach Phillips and Tyler Graovac playing for the Iowa Wild as well as Erik Haula making the jump from the baby Wild and even off the wing to center for the Wild. The Wild also have several wingers on the left side that should get some good looks this season. A place the Wild seem to be lacking in any real depth however in on the wing, more specifically on the right side.
Ho-Sang has had time at center as well as on the right wing. He's undersized which could be a bit of a liability in a Western Conference that is built on size, but he makes for his size with some A+ speed and a creative ability that places him as one of the premier play-makers in this years draft. He has been criticized for his defensive game as well as his discipline in the OHL. In April, he was suspended for 15 games for a collision with the London Knights defensemen Zach Bell. The suspension has been criticized for being pretty harsh, but this is an example of his undisciplined game that shows it's ugly head from time to time.
Ho-Sang has a tremendously huge up-side and with the Wild having a pretty solid prospect core they can afford to take a risk on Ho-Sang and bring him into the fold. A long with his blazing speed he has excellent hands and great vision which helps him see a play developing so he can either get to the open areas of the ice or make the great pass to an open teammate.
Josh Ho-Sang had a successful sophomore season recording career highs in goals (32), assists (53), points (85), plus/minus (+26) and penalty minutes (44) topping his team in scoring. He improved his defensive commitment and attention to detail but remains a high-risk style of player who relies on dangerous passing plays all too often. Heading towards the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Ho-Sang is one of the draft's top skaters and a player with big upside but he does come with some concerns - mainly, his size and carefree offensive game.
Brendan Ross of Dobber Prospects
With the Wild's current prospect core, and with the tremendous upside that accompanies Josh Ho-Sang, I believe the Wild could afford to take a chance on this kid. He has been touted as one of this drafts biggest "boom or bust" prospects. We have plenty in the cupboards, why not take a chance on a kid with a very high-end talent that can be developed over time into an elite NHL top-6 winger?