While other teams were in the midst of real-time transformations from a trading frenzy across the NHL, the Wild's lineup for next season was just as patchy at the end of the draft as it was at the beginning.
But General Manager Bill Guerin wasn't expecting to use that time to fill in any holes.
Instead, he and the Wild were focused on the future, and the team certainly stocked up on prospects after drafting seven players – including two in the first round and four in the top 100.
"We're extremely happy with it," Guerin said, "but now the work starts. The work starts for our development guys. The work starts with these players. This is kind of Day 1. It's a big day for these kids. It's a lot of fun. It's a big honor for them, and it's important for us. But this is when the real work starts."
After trading up Friday night to snag Swedish goalie Jesper Wallstedt 20th overall and then tabbing defenseman Carson Lambos at No. 26, the Wild continued to bolster its organizational depth in key spots on Day 2 of the draft.
The team added three more defensemen on Saturday, and two centers.
"We still want to focus on a certain caliber of player or best available," said Judd Brackett, the Wild's director of amateur scouting. "Sometimes that coincides with a position or an area of depth in need. I certainly feel with the last few days we've addressed both."
No one is ready for NHL duty this year, but the 2021 class is intriguing – starting with Wallstedt, who was pegged as the top goalie in the draft. The Wild didn't even have a jersey with his name on it Friday because the team didn't think he'd be available for selection at its turn.
Next up was Lambos, kicking off the shopping spree for the blue line.
At No. 54 in the second round, the Wild nabbed Grand Rapids defenseman Jack Peart.
The reigning Mr. Hockey was named the top high school player in Minnesota after racking up 35 points in 18 games with Grand Rapids, and Peart also played for Fargo in the USHL. He'll start at St. Cloud State in the fall.
"It's always been a dream of mine to play for the Minnesota Wild," Peart said.
The first forward announced by the Wild was center Caedan Bankier, 86th overall in the third round. Despite playing in 33 fewer games than the previous season, Bankier scored four more goals with Kamloops in the Western Hockey League – capitalizing on an elevated role with the team.
"I just kind of tried to make the most of my opportunities and kind of stick to the game that I knew how to play," said Bankier, a 200-foot forward who looks up to Chicago's Jonathan Toews.
In the fourth round, at No.118, the Wild went back to a defenseman by taking Kyle Masters from Red Deer of the WHL. Then the team traded its fifth and seventh round picks to Montreal to select again in the fourth round – this time 127th overall to land Kamloops center Josh Pillar, who can also play wing.
With its final selection in the sixth round, at 182, the Wild made one more acquisition for its back end with Mount St. Charles Academy product Nate Benoit.
Overall, the four defensemen tied for the most picked in a draft in Wild history.
"It's not necessarily by design but it's a good place to start," Brackett said.
Now, the Wild has to bring in defensemen who can play for the team this year.
Replenishing the blue line after the departures of Ryan Suter (buyout) and Carson Soucy (Seattle expansion draft) is the team's most glaring need ahead of NHL free agency opening Wednesday. Ian Cole is also a pending free agent and if he signs elsewhere, the entire third pairing will be wiped out.
But the Wild will also look at forwards, and short-term deals for everyone is the Wild's plan since its flexibility will start to decrease in a year when the cap charges for the Suter and Zach Parise buyouts escalate.
Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala also remain unsigned.
"We have cap space now," said Guerin, referring to the approximately $29 million the team is below the $81.5 million ceiling. "But we have to get a couple of really good players signed. So, we have to make sure that we're not closing them out. We have to keep the space open for them."
Trades are another option on Guerin's radar, but he was idle while other teams pulled off blockbuster deals Friday and Saturday.
Defensemen and centers were on the move, with Seth Jones going from Columbus to Chicago and Sam Reinhart leaving Buffalo for Florida. Arizona and Vancouver also engineered a five-player trade that shuffled each team's look.
Again, though, any transaction the Wild makes from now on must consider the coming years when a chunk of its budget is tied up in the Suter and Parise buyouts. The team simply isn't in position to absorb long-term commitments from new arrivals, especially when contracts for Kaprizov and Fiala still haven't hit the books.
What's more likely is the Wild will have its prospects turn into pros as its cap space shrinks since those players are on more affordable contracts.
This year's draft class gives the Wild more possibilities to mull in a year or two when that transition is expected to begin.
But in the meantime, the team has work to do to get a roster in order for the present.
"You have to figure out dollars and cents and what you're going to be able to pay what position and things like that," Guerin said. "Just get ready to go."