MINNESOTA WILD SELECTS SEVEN PLAYERS IN 2021 NHL DRAFTJul 24, 2021
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Wild selected seven players during the 2021 NHL Draft Friday and Saturday virtually from the Minnesota Wild’s practice facility, TRIA Rink, including five players during rounds two through seven today. Minnesota selected four defensemen, two forwards and one goaltender, including four Canadians, two Americans and one player from Sweden.
Minnesota began Friday night acquiring the 20th overall selection of the 2021 NHL Draft from Edmonton in exchange for the Wild’s first-round selection (22nd overall) and third-round selection (90th overall) of this year’s draft. Minnesota selected goaltender Jesper Wallstedt with its 20th overall pick. Wallstedt, 18 (11/14/02), spent the 2020-21 season with Lulea of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) and posted a 12-10-0 record with a 2.23 GAA, a .908 SV% and two shutouts in 22 games. The 6-foot-3, 214-pound native of Vasteras, Sweden, is the highest-drafted goaltender in Wild history and 16th all-time, second from Sweden. He becomes the first Swedish-born goalie to be selected in the first round of an NHL Draft. The left-glove backstop has represented Sweden in multiple events including the 2021 World Junior Championship and as part of Sweden’s gold medal team at the 2019 Under-18 World Championship.
“Jesper is a strong technical goaltender,” said Judd Brackett, Minnesota Wild Director of Amateur Scouting. “He is very mature, calm and well-seasoned.”
The Wild selected defenseman Carson Lambos in first round with the 26th overall selection Friday night. The 18-year-old (1/14/03) spent the majority of the 2020-21 season on loan to JYP of the Finnish Junior League totaling 11 points (2-9=11) in 13 games. The 6-foot-1, 197-pound native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, also played in two games for the Winnipeg Ice in the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) bubble last season before having his season cut short due to injury. The left-shot blueliner recorded 32 points (8-24=32) in 57 games with Winnipeg during the 2019-20 campaign and led all WHL rookie defensemen in scoring. He represented Canada White at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and was named a tournament all-star after registering five assists in six contests.
“Carson is a two-way, rugged, hard defender,” said Brackett. “He has a high compete level and excellent hockey sense.”
The Wild selected defenseman Jack Peart in the second round with the 54th overall selection. The 5-foot-11, 186-pound native of Grand Rapids, Minn., was named the 2021 Mr. Hockey Award winner and recorded 35 points (11-24=35) in 18 games during the 2020-21 season with Grand Rapids High School (High-MN). He becomes the 15th all-time Minnesota native to be selected by the Wild in the NHL Draft, seventh defensemen. The 18-year-old (5/15/03) totaled 15 points (1-14=15) in 24 regular season contests with the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League (USHL) last season and was named USHL Defenseman of the Week on Dec. 9, 2020. He collected seven points (2-5=7) in nine playoff matches with the Force as Fargo fell to Chicago in the Clark Cup final. The left-shot blueliner is committed to St. Cloud State University for the 2021-22 season.
“Jack is a two-way, mobile, strong puck handling defender with a high hockey IQ,” said Brackett.
Minnesota selected center Caedan Bankier in the third round with the 86th overall selection. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound native of White Rock, British Columbia, spent the last two seasons with the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL and has 43 points (18-25=43) in 77 career games (2019-21). The 18-year-old (1/26/03) ranked T-1st on the Kamloops in goals (11) and power-play goals (5) during the 2020-21 campaign, second in shots and third in scoring.
“Caedan is a two-way forward with a real knack for scoring,” said Brackett. “He is very opportunistic around the net and has a high hockey sense.”
The Wild selected defenseman Kyle Masters in the fourth round with the 118th overall selection. The 18-year-old (4/9/03) led the Red Deer (WHL) defensemen and ranked fourth on the Rebels in scoring with 10 assists in 20 games during the 2020-21 season. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound native of Edmonton, Alberta, owns 13 points (2-11=13), two PPG and 44 shots on net in 44 career contests with Red Deer in two seasons (2019-21). The right-shot blueliner collected his two career WHL goals during the 2019-20 campaign, both on the power-play, to rank T-3rd amongst rookie League defensemen in PPG.
“Kyle is a right-shot, puck-moving defender with elite quickness and mobility,” said Brackett.
Minnesota acquired a fourth-round selection (127th overall) in the 2021 NHL Draft from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for the Wild’s 150th and 214th selections in this year’s draft and selected forward Josh Pillar. The 5-foot-11, 171-pound native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, owns 95 points (32-63=95) with eight PPG and seven game-winning goals (GWG) in 154 career games with the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL (2017-21). The 19-year-old (2/14/02) led the Blazers in scoring (29) last season and ranked T-1st in goals (11), PPG (5), GWG (3) and assists (18). Pillar and Bankier have been teammates for the last two seasons.
“Josh is a two-way, high energy forward and was the leading scorer of the Kamloops this past season,” said Brackett.
The Wild selected defenseman Nate Benoit in the sixth round with the 182nd overall selection. The 18-year-old (11/26/02) served as captain during the 2020-21 season with Mount St. Charles Academy (High-R.I.) and recorded 32 points (11-21=32) in 33 games. The 6-foot, 168-pound native of Concord, N.H., collected 83 points (24-59=83) in 96 contests in two seasons with Mount St. Charles Academy (2019-21). The left-shot blueliner skated in three games with Tri-City of the USHL in 2020-21.
“Nate is a strong skater, two-way player with bite,” said Brackett. “He is a little bit of a late bloomer so he will play a year with Tri-City of the USHL before his commitment to the University of North Dakota.”
Visit the Draft Central page on wild.com presented by Xcel Energy for the latest news on the 2021 NHL Draft.
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