With the graduation of now “former” top prospects Matt Boldy and Marco Rossi to the NHL, the time has come for a brand new Wild Top 10 prospects ranking. In case you were curious, yes, the Wild’s prospect system is still absolutely loaded with talent. Honestly, there isn’t a single position they lack, even with the graduation of both Boldy and Rossi. That is just how strong of a group this is.So, without further ado and in the wise words of Kendrick Lamar… “LET’S GET THIS SHIT, LET’S GET THIS SHIT, LET’S GET THIS SHIT, LET’S HMMMMM.“
1. Jesper Wallstedt, G, Luleå HF (SHL)
1st Round, 20th overall, 2021 NHL Draft2021-22 Stats: 17 GP, 9 W, 1.82 GAA, .923 SV%, 2 SO
The prized possession of this class, Wallstedt has everything a team craves in a franchise goalie. He is strong on his skates in the crease and a big, calming presence in the net. His mental game is next level. Wallstedt was well on his way to earning best goalie of the tournament honors at the WJC in Edmonton before it got shut down due to COVID-19. Make no mistake, he is the Wild’s goalie of the future.
2. Marat Khusnutdinov, F, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)2nd Round, 37th overall, 2020 NHL Draft
2021-22 Stats: 29 GP, 4 G, 7 A, 11 PTS
By now, Khusnutdinov is a household name to most the Wild prospect world. The Piss Missile is a player that does everything you ask of him and more. Overall, just a very solid, two-way forward that can absolutely fly up and down the ice. Khusnutdinov recently just signed a two-year extension with SKA St. Petersburg, which stinks, but he will still only be 21 when he arrives Stateside.
3. Pavel Novák, F, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
5th round, 146th overall, 2020 NHL Draft2021-22 Stats: 26 GP, 13 G, 21 A, 34 PTS
Novák is my favorite Wild prospect to watch right now. All he does is score goals everywhere he goes. Novák is lethal on the PP. He’s a master of deception and is ready to rip one past the goalie in any situation. He is fantastic off the rush as well. The sky’s the limit for this kid.
4. Adam Beckman, F, Iowa Wild (AHL)
3rd round, 75th overall, 2019 NHL Draft
2021-22 Stats: 23 GP, 5 G, 10 A, 15 PTS
One of the best stories of this current Wild class, Beckman continues to prove that he can play at any level. A lethal scorer at the junior level, Beckman has adjusted incredibly well to the professional level and continues to put up numbers against players much older than himself. He is a player that makes everyone around him better and does whatever it takes to win. Beckman has an infectious personality that rubs off on his teammates in the best way possible.
5. Carson Lambos, LHD, Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
1st round, 26th overall, 2021 NHL Draft
2021-22 Stats: 19 GP, 5 G, 13 A, 18 PTS
The biggest thing for Lambos is that he’s healthy, playing again, and feeling like himself. He had a hellacious time with scary health issues last season which caused him to slip in the draft. Now that he’s back at 100%, it’s clear that the Wild got a steal. Lambos is a manipulative offensive defenseman that is always looking for unique ways to get the puck on the net. He loves to shoot the puck from the point through screens and bodies. It’s a very fun time watching him walk the blueline in the offensive zone.
6. Jack Peart, LHD, St. Cloud State (NCAA)
2nd Round, 54th overall, 2021 NHL Draft
2021-22 Stats: 13 GP, 2 G, 9 A, 11 PTS
A local kid from Grand Rapids, MN, Peart has just continued to get better and better every single year. He is a modern defenseman that can do it all for his team on the back-end. Peart skates exceptionally well and is always in the right position defensively. In his freshman year with the Huskies, Peart is arguably already the team’s best defenseman.
7. Ryan O’Rourke, LHD, Soo Greyhounds (OHL)
2nd round, 39th overall, 2020 NHL Draft
2021-22 Stats: 21 GP, 3 G, 19 A, 22 PTS
Straight up, this dude is mean. If you grew up watching hockey in the 90s-early 2000s, then you will love watching O’Rourke play. He is your prototypical stay-at-home defenseman. O’Rourke is rugged in the corners and wins the majority of the puck battles with the blend of both his drive and tenacity. He’s more than capable of dropping a bomb from the point every once in awhile as well.
8. Nikita Nesterenko, F, Boston College (NCAA)
6th round, 172nd overall, 2019 NHL Draft
2021-22 Stats: 18 GP, 5 G, 11 A, 16 PTS
Nesterenko brings the filthy mitts to college hockey. He is an extremely crafty player that loves creating plays in the offensive zone and distributing the puck to his teammates. He showcases great hands in tight. Nesterenko’s game is all about skill, skill, and more skill. He’s in great company at Boston College.
9. Caedan Bankier, F, Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
3rd round, 86th overall, 2021 NHL Draft
2021-22 Stats: 31 GP, 11 G, 14 A, 25 PTS
This has the scent of a stealthy, sneaky Judd Brackett pick all over it. Bankier is a younger player that probably would’ve been selected higher in the draft this summer if Brackett hadn’t taken him. Bankier is a kid that just understands how to score goals. He already displays an elite-level shot and has the brain to make highlight-reel plays. He’s raw, but with time, I think he could move much higher up this list.
10. Daemon Hunt, LHD, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
3rd round, 65th overall, 2020 NHL Draft
2021-22 Stats: 22 GP, 9 G, 7 A, 16 PTS
Rounding out this edition of the Wild Top 10 prospects rankings is Daemon Hunt. There is no questioning whether Hunt is a solid prospect or not. He is. Hunt is a reliable two-way defenseman that is great on the breakout and controls his gaps and spacing perfectly. Unfortunately, injuries have always seemed to follow him wherever he goes. He was just “moments away” from making Team Canada at the WJC before sustaining an injury blocking a shot. Cheers to a year of good health and fortune, Daemon!