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NHL Mock Draft 2019: Minnesota Wild select Vasili Podkolzin with the No. 12 pick

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VANCOUVER, BC - JANUARY 5: Vasili Podkolzin #11 of Russia skates with the puck in the Bronze Medal game of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship against Switzerland on January, 5, 2019 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

The 2019 NHL Entry Draft is just around the corner and as such, the 31 SB Nation NHL sites came together for a mock draft. In a grand yearly tradition, we play backseat General Manager for the teams we cover and play out our (hopefully) ideal first round.

Last year, the Minnesota Wild selected at 24th overall. After attempting trades with the Philadelphia Flyers and the fine folks at Broad Street Hockey, Hockey Wilderness ultimately kept the pick and selected Dominik Bokk. Paul Fenton went on to draft Filip Johansson from the Swedish Hockey League with the same pick.

After a much more miserable end to the season, the Wild are sitting on the 12th overall pick. It’s unlikely any player who drops to 12th overall will be able to make an immediate impact. But the players that could be available are promising, and should be encouraging to Wild fans, should this draft go well.

One player on our radar was Alex Newhook, who was selected by Broad Street Hockey at 11th overall. Victor Soderstrom was another name brought up. Ultimately, we went will the best available player.

First, here’s who has been taken so far:

SB Nation Mock Draft

  1. Jack Hughes — New Jersey Devils
  2. Kappo Kaako — New York Rangers
  3. Alex Turcotte — Chicago Blackhawks
  4. Kirby Dach — Colorado Avalanche
  5. Dyland Cozens — Los Angeles Kings
  6. Bowen Byram — Detroit Red Wings
  7. Cole Caufield — Buffalo Sabres
  8. Peyton Krebs — Edmonton Oilers
  9. Trevor Zegras — Anaheim Ducks
  10. Matthew Boldy — Vancouver Canucks
  11. Alex Newhook — Philadelphia Flyers

With the 12th overall pick in the SB Nation 2019 NHL Mock Draft, Hockey Wilderness has selected Vasili Podkolzin from SKA-1946 St. Petersburg of the Molodyozhnaya Hokkeinaya Liga (MHL).

The Basics

Birthplace: Moskva, Russia
Shoots: Left
Position: Wing
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 190 lbs
Team: SKA-1946 Saint Petersburg (MHL)

Rankings

Hockey Prospect: No. 3
Future Considerations: No. 3
ISS Hockey: No. 4
McKeen’s Hockey: No. 5
NHL Central Scouting: No. 2 (European Skaters only)
Bob McKenzie, TSN: No. 3
Elite Prospects: No. 3

Why Podkolzin?

Podkolzin is the real deal when it comes to talent and hockey IQ. This make sound like a typical excuse for a player who is simply big and brings intangibles that, when pressed, are virtually nonexistent. And true, at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Podkolzin is no slouch. And even more true, he certainly went through some serious cold streaks this past year, which may turn off some GMs to him come Draft Day in Vancouver.

But Podkolzin is a true possession player, able to protect the puck on his stick well and use his feet to evade defenders with ease. His offensive skillset includes faking out defenders and goaltenders. He takes away lanes from opponents with his speed and great skating.

It’s a laundry list of what Podkolvin does well ... but scoring consistently is still a big question.

Why not Podkolvin?

What may have caused the Russian winger to drop so low in the mock draft — and potentially during the real thing — is two-fold.

First, his raw numbers are underwhelming. His three games with the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) — Russia’s top professional league — saw the 17-year-old go scoreless. In 14 games with the KHL feeder league, Vysshaya Hokkeinaya Liga (VHL), Podkolvin tallied just two goals and three assists. His 12 games with the juniors MHL club fared slightly better, with six goals and two assists.

That said, his international performance has made an impression on many scouts and with his skill set, the goal scoring will follow.

The other road block is that Podkolvin is under contract with the KHL until 2020-21 and seemingly intends to honor that contract. It’s one thing to assume you might not be able to play a prospect for two years — it’s another to know that those two years are off the table entirely.

But if that scares off other GMs, Podkolvin stands a chance to fall even further in the draft. If that incredible opportunity rolls around, he’d be a massive investment in the Wild’s future.

What do you think of our pick?

Poll

Do you like the Podkolvin pick?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    Yes!
    (107 votes)
  • 28%
    I can live with it
    (105 votes)
  • 32%
    Too risky
    (118 votes)
  • 9%
    Terrible fit
    (36 votes)
366 votes total Vote Now