On Wednesday and Thursday, the Minnesota Wild picked six players in the second through seventh rounds of the 2023 NHL Draft at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. Two Native Minnesotans, one Native Canadian, one Native Finn, and three Native Americans made up Minnesota’s selection of forwards and defensemen. The 2023 NHL Draft will go down in Wild history as the first time the team has ever taken three or more players from the state of Minnesota.
Minnesota chose center, Charlie Stramel, with the 21st pick in the first round of the 2023 NHL Draft on a Wednesday night. Stramel, who turned 18 on October 15, 2004, played in 33 games during his freshman year of college hockey in 2022–23, recording 12 points (5-7=12) and 59 penalty minutes (PIM). The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder from Rosemount, Minnesota helped Team USA to a bronze medal in the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship. He contributed five points (2-3=5) in six games as he helped Team USA win silver at the 2022 IIHF Under-18 World Junior Championship. In 42 games with the United States National Team Development Program in 2021-22, Stramel had 37 points (17-20=37) and 60 penalty minutes (PIM). In five games at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Under-18 Championship, he recorded four points (2-2=4) for Team USA. Stramel will be entering the United States National Team Development Program in time for the 2020-21 season after spending his freshman year at Rosemount High School.
“Charlie is a heavy, strong skating, physical two-way center,” remarked Judd Brackett, director of amateur scouting for the Minnesota Wild. “We couldn’t be happier to have him join our team.”
Rasmus Kumpulainen, a center, was the 53rd overall pick by the Wild on Thursday’s second round. Kumpulainen, born on August 8, 2005, skated in 41 games for the 2022-23 season for the Lahden Pelicans Junior Team (Finland), scoring 34 points (11-23=34) and amassing 26 penalty minutes (PIM), enough for fifth-most among team skaters. The 6-foot-2, 191-pound Lahti native scored five points (3-2=5), had two penalty minutes (PIM), and was rated a plus-five for Finland in the 2023 IIHF Under-18 World Championship. After playing in 27 games for the Pelicans Under-18 Team in 2020-21 and scoring 20 points (6-14=20), Kumpulainen played in 43 games for the Pelicans Junior Team that season, tallying 17 points (8-9=17) and two PIM. The Wild have picked eleven Finns in the NHL Draft, with Kumpulainen being the first since goalkeeper Filip Lindberg in 2019 (Espoo).
“Rasmus is a big, two-way, possession center with excellent puck protection skill,” Brackett said.
Riley Heidt, a center, was the 64th overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Heidt, who turned 18 on March 15, 2005, tallied 97 points (25-72=97) and 36 penalty minutes in 68 games for Prince George of the Western Hockey League (WHL) in 2022-2023. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan’s 5-foot-10, 180-pound native led the Cougars in assists and was second in points to win second-team All-Star accolades in the Western Hockey League’s British Columbia division. At the 2023 IIHF Under-18 World Championship, Heidt tallied two assists in five games for Canada. After scoring eight points (2-6=8) and 12 PIM in 22 games for the Cougars in 2020-21, Heidt exploded for 58 points (21-37=58) and 51 PIM in 65 games for Prince George in 2021-22.
“Riley is a slick, playmaking center with elite vision and hands,” Brackett added.
Aaron Pionk, a defender, was the 149th overall pick by the Minnesota Wild. Pionk, who turned 20 on January 16, 2003, has 60 games in which he contributed 36 points (12-24=36) and 51 penalty minutes (PIM) for the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL. The Hermantown, Minnesota, native stands at 6 feet 1 inches and weighs 173 pounds. He is tied for fourth in the USHL among defensemen in goals. When it came to team assists, he was tied for fifth, and when it came to scoring, he was sixth. Pionk played in 51 games with the Minnesota Wilderness in the NAHL season 2021-22, accumulating 28 points (9-19=28) and 14 PIM. In 20 games during the 2020-21 season, he scored 40 points (15-25=40) for Hermantown High School.
“Aaron was recently converted to defense,” Brackett explained. He can move the puck well and shoot the puck accurately.
Defenseman Kalem Parker was the 181st overall pick by the Wild in the sixth round. Parker, who turned 18 on October 12, 2004, played in 68 games for the Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League (WHL) in 2022–23, accumulating 38 points (6–32=38) and 64 penalty minutes (PIM). The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native stood at 6 feet tall and weighed 192 pounds, good enough for a tie for second on the team in assists and third in scoring. season 66 games played for Victoria season 2021-22, he recorded 20 points (2-18=20) and 70 penalty minutes. At the 2022 IIHF Under-18 World Championship, Parker scored one for Canada in three games.
“Kalem is a two-way, all-situations defender with good mobility,” stated Brackett.
Jimmy Clark was the 213th overall pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves and a forward. Clark, who turned 18 on 9/24/04, played in 62 games for the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers past year, contributing 47 points (19-28=47) and 27 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-1, 179-pounder from Edina, Minnesota, placed third in scoring and tied for third in both goals and assists for the Gamblers. In 2021-22, he played 13 games with the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL and had three assists, for a total of 38 points (15-23=38) for Edina High School. Clark also participated in the 2021 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup with the United States Under-18 squad, playing in four games and contributing two points (1-1=2).
“Jimmy is a high-energy, two-way center with a heavy shot,” Brackett said.
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Q1. What does NHL stand for?
National Hockey League
Q2. How many players can play NHL?
The National Hockey League limits each game’s roster to 19 players (18 skaters and 2 goalies). Players in the National Hockey League are often split up into four lines of three forwards and three pairs of defensemen.
Q3. Who is the best player in NHL history?
Gretzky, Wayne. Who else but the player with the most goals, assists, and points in NHL history over a 20-year career? Gretzky owned 61 NHL records when he retired, and the vast majority of them are still in effect. We won’t argue about how high up on the lists Gretzky should be since it seems so obvious.