Wild adds players in draft 01 Jul 13

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Wild selected seven players in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.: D Gustav Olofsson (2nd round, 46th overall), RW Kurtis Gabriel (3rd round, 81st overall), D Dylan Labbe (4th round, 107th overall); D Carson Soucy (5th round, 137th overall), C Avery Peterson (6th round, 167th overall), D Nolan de Jong (7th round, 197th overall) and G Alexandre Belanger (7th round, 200th overall).

Olofsson, 18 (12/1/94), posted 23 points (2-21=23) and 59 penalty minutes (PIM) in 63 games for Green Bay of the United States Hockey League in 2012-13, ranking fourth on the team with a +11 ranking. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound native of Boras, Sweden, grew up in Sweden, California and Colorado, and is committed to play at Colorado College.

“Gustav is a big, mobile defenseman that really jumped up our draft rankings,” said Wild Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr. “He’s an intelligent player with quality natural instincts for the game. We feel like his game will continue to improve as he gets stronger and gains experience.”

Gabriel, 20 (4/20/93), posted 28 points (13-15=28), 100 PIM and a +14 rating in 67 games with Owen Sound of the Ontario Hockey League in 2012-13. The 6-foot-3, 208-pound native of New Market, Ont. added five points (3-2=5) in 12 playoff games in 2013.

“Kurtis is a big, imposing winger that brings a physical element every night,” said Flahr. “He’s a late bloomer that really improved this season.”

Labbe, 18 (1/9/95), totaled 28 points (7-21=28) and 57 PIM in 61 games with Shawinigan of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2012-13. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound blueliner is a native of St. George, Que.

“Dylan is a smart, puck-moving defenseman who plays in all situations,” said Flahr. “He needs to get stronger but we feel he has a quality upside.”

Soucy, 18 (7/27/94), recorded 15 points (5-10=15) and 71 PIM in 35 games with Spruce Grove of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. The 6-foot-4, 191-pound native of Viking, Alta., is committed to play at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

“Carson is a 6-foot-4 defenseman with good mobility and does a good job of moving the puck,” said Flahr. “He will attend UMD in the fall.”

Peterson, 18 (6/20/95), becomes the 11th Minnesotan selected by the Wild in team history. The Grand Rapids, Minn. native totaled 54 points (23-31=54) in 23 games with Grand Rapids High School before netting four points (1-3=4) in eight games with Sioux City of the United States Hockey League in 2012-13. The 6-foot-2, 193-pound center scored two goals while playing for Grand Rapids in 2013 Wells Fargo Hockey Day Minnesota.

“Avery is a big, two-way center,” said Flahr. “He skates well and is a quality high school player who will get bigger.”

De Jong, 18 (4/25/95), recorded 24 points (5-19=24) in 51 contests with Victoria of the British Columbia Hockey League in 2012-13. The 6-foot-2, 165-pound native of Victoria, B.C. is committed to play at the University of Michigan.

“Nolan is a physical kid who needs to add some size as he progresses,” said Flahr. “He will attend Michigan in the fall.”

Belanger, 17 (8/19/95), posted a 24-13-1-3 record with Rouyn-Noranda of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2012-13, totaling a 3.46 goals-against average and a 0.875 save percentage in 44 games. The 6-foot, 170-pound goalie is a native of Sherbrooke, Que.

“Scout Marc Chamard felt strongly about Alexandre,” said Flahr. He was primarily a backup but earned the starting role down the stretch for the Huskies and had a good playoff run. He was highly touted going into the junior ranks.”

Minnesota acquired forward Nino Niederreiter from the New York Islanders in exchange for right wing Cal Clutterbuck and a third-round selection (70th overall) in today’s NHL Entry Draft. The Wild began Sunday by acquiring a sixth-round selection in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and the rights to restricted free agent Benn Ferriero from the New York Rangers in exchange for defenseman Justin Falk.

Minnesota did not make a selection in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft for the first time in team history. Minnesota’s selection of four defenseman set a franchise record, having previously picked three blueliners in four Drafts. The Wild selected a goaltender for the ninth time in 14 total Drafts.