Minnesota Wild 2000 Expansion Draft
The Minnesota Wild became an NHL franchise 18 years ago. Similar to how the Vegas Golden Knights came into the league, there was an expansion draft. There were some big differences when you compare the two drafts, however. Not only would each existing team get to keep more players, but the Columbus Blue Jackets were also in the expansion draft that year (there goes half of the qualified players right there). 26 of the 28 existing NHL teams had to participate in the expansion draft; the only two teams not participating were the Atlanta Thrashers and the Nashville Predators because of how new those teams were at the time.
Let's Play Hockey Magazine held up during the announcement that the NHL would be expanding to Minnesota (above)
The Wild drafted on June 23, 2000 in Calgary, Alberta. Each team could protect either 1 goalie, 5 defenseman, and 9 forwards, or 2 goalies, 3 defenseman and 7 forwards. Compare that to 2017 when Vegas selected; each team could only protect either 1 goalie, 3 defenseman, and 7 forwards, or 8 skaters and 1 goalie. Each team from both the 2000 and 2017 expansion draft had to expose a certain amount of players from each position.
Both teams selected 26 players - 52 players selected in all. All NHL teams were required to lose 2 players (not including the draft) and only 1 goalie or 1 defenseman could be selected from each team. The Wild had to use thier first 24 picks on 3 goalies, 8 defenseman, 13 forwards and the final 2 picks could be any position.
Below is the list in order of who the Minnesota Wild selected.
|(2) Jamie McLennan||G||Blues|
|(3) Mike Vernon||G||Panthers|
|(6) Chris Terreri||G||Devils|
|(7) Sean O’Donnell||D||Kings|
|(10) Curtis Leschyshyn||D||Hurricanes|
|(12) Ladislav Benysek||D||Ducks|
|(13) Chris Armstrong||D||Sharks|
|(15) Filip Kuba||D||Flames|
|(20) Ian Herbers||D||Islanders|
|(21) Artem Anisimov||D||Flyers|
|(24) Stacy Roest||C||Red Wings|
|(25) Darryl Laplante||C||Red Wings|
|(27) Scott Pellerin||LW||Blues|
|(30) Jim Dowd||C||Oilers|
|(31) Sergei Krivokrasov||RW||Flames|
|(33) Jeff Nielsen||RW||Ducks|
|(35) Jeff Odgers||RW||Avalanche|
|(37) Steve McKenna||D||Kings|
|(40) Michal Bros||F||Sharks|
|(41) Joe Juneau||C||Senators|
|(43) Darby Hendrickson||C||Canucks|
|(46) Jeff Daw||C||Blackhawks|
|(48) Stefan Nilsson||C||Canucks|
|(49) Zac Bierk||G||Lightning|
|(51) Cam Stewart||L||Panthers|
The most recognizable players on this list are Sean O'Donnell (first captain in Wild history), Filip Kuba, Jim Dowd and Darby Hendrickson. The Wild also traded goaltender Chris Terreri and draft pick to New Jersey for future Wild captain Brad Bombardir. The Blue Jackets actually selected Dwayne Roloson from Buffalo but he chose not to sign with them. Instead he signed with a minor league affiliate of the St. Louis Blues on a one year deal. In 2001, Roloson signed with the Wild.
Some other notable points from the draft include the young goalie prospect of the San Jose Sharks, Evgeni Nabokov. The Sharks offered players and picks to both the Wild and the Blue Jackets for them to not select Nabokov. Each team expected the trades and Nabokov went on to win the rookie of the year in 2001 and became an NHL All-Star in 2008, becoming the best goalie in Sharks history. Also, the Calgary Flames left Martin St. Louis exposed and both teams passed on him. To be fair, he was a young, undrafted free agent out of the University of Vermont, so nobody really knew who he was at this point.
The 2000 NHL Entry Draft was that same summer and the Wild's first draft. They made their best pick in franchise history,, selecting Marion Gaborik 3rd overall. The Blue Jackets had the 4th pick and drafted Rusty Klesla, who was average at best, but did stick with the team for a while. No doubt the Wild had the better Entry Draft and Expansion draft as in just the franchise's third year of existence they reached the conference finals. There is a lot of hard work that goes into becoming a new franchise and the Wild did as good a job as any in 2000.
Marion Gaborik being selected 3rd overall in the 2000 NHL Draft (above)
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