There's 22 days until the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. There's been some changes since the Rangers and the Kings are playing in the finals. But the Wild still pick 18th. I've read some more mock drafts; we've drafted a defenseman. Hooray!
With the 18th pick, the Wild proudly select, from the Kingston Frontenacs, Roland McKeown. He's ranked 27th among North American Skaters. I would like to see him as one of the most underrated smartest puck-moving defensmen. One of the Wild major problems is that they lack offensive-minded puck-shooting defensemen. Fletcher has done a accurate job of acquiring the following players that have turned out or could have the potential to be offensive-minded puck-shooting defensemen: Jared Spurgeon, Marco Scandella, Matt Dumba, Christian Folin, Gustav Olofsson, Jonathon Blum, and Dylan Labbe. I've just seen scouting reports of Labbe, Olofsson, and Folin where they can be key defensemen; but since I haven't seen much highlights or games of Labbe, Olofsson, and Folin, it's too early to say what type of defensemen they'll be. All I can say is that they're potential top-4 defensemen at the moment.
Getting back to the topic, the players that I did mentioned that I've seen played games are only the players that think the game offensively. Adding McKeown to the farm system can strengthen the defensive core for years to come. Here's a scouting report on McKeown: "He's a very solid all around player and he's an effortless skater. He makes smart decisions with the puck in his own end and is adept at making a first pass or skating the puck out of trouble. Defensively, he's better than people give him credit for. His positioning and smarts are excellent. He's certainly not ever going to be the type that engages a ton physically, but he's a very smart positional/stick defender who'll become a better one on one player as he gets stronger."
McKeown seems to be a good potential all-around defenseman with mobility that the Wild need. It seems that he's a player that just likes to play a smart, simple game. He seems to be a puck rushing defenseman who has the potential to be a top pair defenseman that's a future leader as he has the ability to contribute offensively of his choosing but still provide a shut-down role. So he could be a complete defenseman. With the ability to improve his size in his game, McKeown seems to be a potential player that can be reckon with depending on how he develops. From seeing highlights of the kid, stylistically, he kinda reminds me of Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo the way he shows off his skating ability and his solid two-way game. It's a style comparison, not really a talent comparison. He has the tools to be a solid top-4 defenseman that can be a contribution on the PP. He's a right shot, so there's another green light there.
Here's some highlights to give you an idea of what type of player he is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R58a_Z4bEhI, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZfso5zS1P0.
He can fit the Wild system as they're lacking offensive/complete defensemen as they only have players in Spurgeon, Suter, and mostly Scandella to think offensive terms. The addition of McKeown can solidify the depth that the Wild already have. He can be a solid producer consistently that can improve the PP.
You might think he's mostly a defensive D-man, but he can also be really consistent offensively. He gets involved in line rushes and he's aggressive in the offensive zone especially sometimes playing a forward and keeping the puck in the zone. And we actually do need more offensive D-men to improve offensive depth.
Thanks for reading fans, next time for sure, I'll do Joshua Ho Sang :).