After taking left wingers Matthew Boldy and Vladislav Firstov with the 12th and 42nd picks, respectively, in the NHL Draft, the Wild did some wheeling and dealing and eventually used a third-round pick to draft goalie Hunter Jones.
Minnesota traded its third- and fourth-round picks (73 and 99) to Carolina to get the No. 59 overall pick in the second round and took Jones, a 6-foot-4 goalie from the Ontario Hockey League.
According to NHL.com, Jones is the fifth-ranked goalie in the 2019 draft.
"Jones (6-4, 202) has pro size with quickness, athleticism, excellent compete and a great work ethic. He was 28-24-4 with a 3.31 GAA, .902 save percentage and three shutouts in 57 games. Jones, who also has good mental focus, compares his style to Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray."
Hockey Wildnerness says Jones' stats are misleading and are a reflection of the talent around him in the OHL. Regardless, Minnesota moved up to get a guy who could very well be competing for a starting job in the NHL someday.
Devan Dubnyk and Alex Stalock are locked and loaded as Minnesota's top two goalies, with Kaap Kahkonen and former Gopher Mat Robson set to play between the pipes for the Iowa Wild in the American Hockey League.
Jones, 18, will have plenty of time to develop into an NHL starter.
A scouting report on Jones by The Hockey Writers lists his strengths as being his glove hand, positioning, vision and rebound control, while he needs to work on skating and playing the puck.
“Hunter Jones is a big goalie who takes up a lot of net. He sees the puck very well through traffic, has good reactions and strong rebound control and directs them well to the corners," ISS Director of Scouting Dennis MacInnis told The Hockey Writers.
"Jones has shown a great amount of progress this season and has an imposing presence; he has future NHL starter written all over him.”
Wild fans will love to know that Firstov, according to The Hockey Writers, has a shot often called a "cannon" or "bomb."
"He’s adapted so well to the league and has so many pro elements to his game. He’s got an NHL-ready shot; he can really fire it," said NHL Central Scouting's David Gregory, via The Hockey Writers. "He’s a big-bodied power forward that can possess the puck really well in traffic (and) his hockey sense is really good."
Firstov, like Wild first-round pick Matthew Boldy, plays left wing. Wild GM Paul Fenton taking potential high-end left wingers in the first and second rounds of the draft signals that he's on a mission to take the best offensive players available.
Firstov finished his rookie season in the USHL with 26 goals and 32 assists in 62 games with the Waterloo Black Hawks. He's committed to play college hockey at the University of Connecticut, so it's very possible that Minnesota fans don't see him in a Wild sweater for at least three or four years.