Wild select Swedish winger Liam Ohgren, Russian winger Danila Yurov in first round
With an eye toward the future, the Wild bolstered their prospect pool on Thursday night at Centre Bell in Montreal.
MONTREAL — With an eye toward the future, the Wild bolstered their prospect pool on Thursday night at Centre Bell in Montreal.
It started when the Wild selected Swedish winger Liam Ohgren with the No. 19 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, then continued about 30 minutes later when they selected Russian winger Danila Yurov with the No. 24 pick.
“I’m very happy that we made both selections,” Wild general manager Bill Guerin said. “Both players were very high on our list. We feel like we got them at a really good spot.”
While it’s unclear when Ohgren and/or Yurov will be ready to contribute at the NHL level, Wild director of amateur scouting Judd Brackett lauded both players for their immense skill set as well as the heaviness with which they plan the game.
“It speaks to how well rounded they are, right?” Brackett said. “There isn’t a hole in their game. They can do a little bit of everything and with great detail. When we’re looking for players, we want complete players, and we feel we got two tonight.”
Looking specifically at the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Ohgren, he scored 33 goals and tallied 25 assists across 30 games this past season with the Djurgardens junior team in Sweden. He pointed to his shot as his biggest strength, emphasizing that he can score from anywhere on the ice.
Maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the 18-year-old Ohgren was a first rounder. His father Andreas is a trainer in Sweden and has worked with various NHL players, including Gabriel Landeskog, Nicklas Backstrom, Patric Hornqvist and Jesper Bratt, among others.
“It’s been really good for me,” Ohgren said. “Just inspiration for me to train with them and to see what they are doing to get better every day.”
As of right now, Ohgren’s plan is to attend development camp next week in Minnesota. Then he will head back to his native Sweden to continue his development.
As for the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Yurov, he scored 13 goals and tallied 23 assists across 23 games this past season with the Magnitogorsk junior team in Russia. He also played 21 games in the KHL with Magnitogorsk and expects to contribute in that league once again next season.
“This morning I had a good conversation with the Wild,” Yurov said through a translator. “I was hoping that means good things in the draft and I’m very fortunate that they did draft me. I’m very happy.”
Asked if he’s a fan of Wild star Kirill Kaprizov, the 18-year-old Yurov smiled, then switched over to English, responding, “Yeah.”
Long before the Wild selected, the Montreal Canadiens started the night with a surprise by passing on Canadian center Shane Wright and instead selected Slovakian winger Juraj Slafkovsky with the No. 1 pick.
The surprises continued when the New Jersey Devils also passed on Wright and selected Slovakian defenseman Simon Nemec with the No. 2 pick. Gophers commit Logan Cooley went to the Arizona Coyotes with the No. 3 pick before Wright’s slide finally ended when the Seattle Kraken selected him with the No. 4 pick.
That set the tone for the rest of the night before the Wild ultimately got a couple of players they coveted all along.
“Both players were players we identified and play a style that fits the way we do,” Brackett said. “The mantra all week was try to be patient and let the draft unfold and it certainly did in a manner that we’re pleased with.”
With the rest of the draft coming up on Friday, the Wild have picks in the second round (No. 47, No. 56), third round (No. 89), fourth round (No. 121), fifth round (No. 153), and sixth round (No. 185).
“It’s going to be interesting,” Brackett said. “I think we’re excited sitting here right now and looking at the players that are there.”
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