Credit: USA Hockey. Lakeville youth hockey product Brady Skjei just finished his two-year stint with the US-NTDP -- and now hopes to become a first-round NHL draft pick.
There are two things Minnesotans look for in the NHL Draft:
The 2012 NHL Entry Draft will kick off Friday, June 22 at 6 p.m. CST at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. The first round will take place Friday night, with rounds 2-7 coming Saturday starting at 9 a.m.
The Wild are currently slotted for the seventh-overall pick Friday night, barring any trades. General Manager Chuck Fletcher currently holds seven picks -- one in each round -- but has been known to shuffle them around at nearly every draft.
According to professional hockey pundits, there will be several solid defensemen available at No. 7 with a few forwards that could also become Wild property. It's no secret Minnesota's prospect pool is a bit thinner on the blue line, compared to its top-end forwards and budding goaltenders currently in the system.
Minnesota has said it will take the best player available whenever they make their first selection.
For the first time in 10 years, zero Minnesotans were selected in the first round at last year's draft. It looks like that will change this year, thanks to a Lakeville youth product. Defenseman Brady Skjei, a Gophers recruit, is expected to be taken somewhere between 15-30th overall. He is 6-foot-3 and is considered the best skater in the entire 2012 draft class.
Here's a look at other notable Minnesotans and their hometowns who could be selected this weekend, according to NHL Central Scouting Services.