The 2015 NHL Entry Draft is 22 days away and the Wild are looking to find that next NHL star to raise their franchise to the next level. Hockey Wilderness is counting down the days with a daily mock draft. We are at pick number 6 today.
The Devils had a tough season, finishing well out of a playoff spot with 78 points, which has led to an offseason of upheaval, with Ray Shero being appointed as new general manager. With his first draft pick in his new job, I expect him to try to add some young high end skill to a forward corps and prospect pool sorely lacking in both of those things.
New Jersey Devils Prospects Overview
The latest Hockey's Future team rankings have the Devils ranked as the 27th best prospect pool in the NHL. For a team which is usually the butt end of jokes about how old it's roster is, this is an extremely bad situation. In paricular, they're lacking skilled forwards, especially at RW. In fact, they only have 1 listed RW prospect, Connor Chatham, and his NHL prospects are slim at best.
According to Hockey's Future:
The majority of the forward prospects are future bottom-six grunts and role players.
About Mikko Rantanen
Rantanen is an 18 year old, left-shooting right wing, playing for TPS Turku in his home country, Finland. The 6-4, 195 lbs forward is considered by many to be the best European skater in this year's draft. He finished as 2nd top scorer for a struggling Turku team last season despite his young age and was his country's top scorer at the U20 World Junior Championships.
On him, Eliteprospects says:
An exceptionally talented playmaker and always a consistent threat on the ice; Rantanen is a combination of elite-level hockey sense, silky smooth hands, and nimble skating. Needs to improve his shot and physical play, as he doesn't take advantage of his size in many situations. All-in-all, an intelligent, big-bodied forward that oozes skill.
How He'd Fit With The Wild
Hmm, a Finnish playmaker with high end skill; I think it's pretty easy to see how he'd fit in with the Wild. This team needs high end skill among it's younger players and would be lucky to have a guy like Rantanen who they could develop patiently while waiting for players like Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville to hit the end of their contracts and move on.