The Wild's goaltending is set for next season, but the team has a new prospect to consider for the future.
After trading up to acquire the 20th overall pick from Edmonton, the Wild landed one of the most prized goalies available in the draft in Jesper Wallstedt.
It used it's second first-rounder (No. 26) to add defenseman Carson Lambos of the Western Hockey League's Winnipeg Ice.
"We're extremely happy," General Manager Bill Guerin said. "Both kids were rated much higher on our lists than we got them. Two very good players. Exactly what we needed, so we're extremely happy."
This is the just the second time in Wild history the team has made two first-round selections.
Wallstedt is the highest-drafted Swedish goalie in NHL history and the first netminder to be taken in the first round by the Wild. The team didn't want to risk Boston nabbing him one pick ahead of the Wild at 22, so the team sent that selection to the Oilers along with a third-round pick (90th overall) to snag Wallstedt at 20.
"We felt it was an easy price to pay to move up a couple spots and grab him there," Guerin said.
Wild brass tried to trade up a couple times earlier in the first round, but nothing came to fruition. The team has six more picks on Saturday when the draft continues with Rounds 2-7.
"When you look back, things fall in place," Guerin said, "and they work out the way they should."
Known for his technically advanced style, Wallstedt thrives on his structure.
He gets his shoulders square to shots and moves well but succinctly. Rarely does the 6-foot-3, 214-pounder leave the crease, a predictability and poise reminiscent of the way current No. 1 Cam Talbot plays the position.
"He's not far from a second save," said Wild director of amateur scouting Judd Brackett. "He doesn't have to play with a lot of desperation. It's obviously nice to have a nice, calming influence."
Last season, Wallstedt played in Sweden's top pro league as an 18-year-old, going 12-10 with a .908 save percentage, 2.23 goals-against average and two shutouts with Lulea. He had a couple talks with the Wild in the lead-up to the draft and said the discussion was good.
Although Wallstedt wasn't the starter in the second half, which may be why he was still available to the Wild, the Wild wasn't discouraged. In fact, the team has been watching him for years. Wallstedt won gold with Sweden at the Under-18 World Championships in 2019.
"He's played a lot of hockey in terms of high-level hockey, which is something we look for in goalies," Brackett said. "It's a good indicator of their future success."
While it's likely Wallstedt continues to play in Sweden, his addition to the organization is timely.
Seattle didn't pry backup Kaapo Kahkonen away from the Wild in the expansion draft, instead taking defenseman Carson Soucy, but the team has only Hunter Jones and Dereck Baribeau in the minors. Filip Lindberg, who was drafted in 2019, went unsigned by the Wild.
"I'm very happy with ending up in Minnesota," said Wallstedt, who watched the draft in his hometown arena in Vasteras, Sweden, with family and friends.
Wallstedt called being the first Swedish goalie ever drafted in the first round "very surreal." He honed his technical side at Henrik Lundqvist goalie camps but is working to develop a game that is his own.
"I don't think I'm trying to build a style like him," said Wallstedt, referring to the future Hall of Famer in Lundqvist. "I'm trying to build a style like me. I want to make myself unique in the style that I want to play."
Potentially skating in front of Wallstedt in the future is Lambos, a two-way, physical defender, what Guerin dubbed a "throwback" with abrasiveness to his game.
The 18-year-old is planning to spend next season in the WHL. That's where he starred in 2019-20, but once the COVID-19 pandemic pushed back last season's start, he decided to play in Finland. Lambos (6-1, 197) had two goals and nine assists in 13 games with JYP of the Finnish Junior League.
He also dealt with health issues and, although he didn't go into specifics, he said he's 100 percent cleared, and the Wild is also confident in his status.
"I was honestly ecstatic," said Lambos, who watched the draft at home in Winnipeg. "Very emotional moment for me getting picked. I've just been through so much this year and to kind of this be feeling like I've overcame it and I can just get to work from here, it was very emotional for me. I'm just so excited."
The announcements of the Wallstedt and Lambos picks were made by the sons of the late Wild assistant GM Tom Kurvers. The four children of Kurvers, who passed away this summer because of lung cancer, were with Guerin in the team's locker room at Tria Rink for the virtual choices.
Although the Wild has holes to fill in its lineup, Guerin said the day was slow for the Wild from the trade perspective.
"There was some pretty big deals today," he said. "We weren't involved in anything at that level. Tomorrow's a new day. You don't know what can come across the desk. We'll be ready for anything."