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Wild trade up, select goalie in first round of NHL Draft

The Minnesota Wild selected Jesper Wallstedt with the 20th overall pick and Carson Lambos at No. 26.

The Minnesota Wild made a deal in the first round of Friday's NHL Draft but it wasn't the deal that everyone was expecting.

Entering the night with the 22nd overall pick, the Wild sent it to the Edmonton Oilers along with a third-round selection (No. 90 overall) to take goalie Jesper Wallstedt with the 20th overall pick.

Wallstedt is the top-ranked European goalie in this year's class and went 12-10 with a 2.33 goals-against average for Luleá HF of the SHL.

According to Elite Prospects, Wallstedt brings a calmness between the pipes and has the traits of a potential franchise goaltender.

"He’s a strong, fluid skater in the crease, and doesn’t mind coming out to challenge oncoming threats. He’ll ramp up the aggression when necessary, but only when the moment calls for it. He tracks pucks well. He doesn’t get rattled when he makes a mistake. Wallstedt’s precise finding his parameters around the blue paint, and has a fairly evenly distributed ability to stop pucks with his hands."

The selection of Wallstedt is a historic one as SKOR North's Judd Zulgad reports it's the first time in either Wild or Minnesota North Stars history that a goalie has been selected in the first round. He is also the highest-drafted Swedish goalie in NHL history.

With their second pick of the night, the Wild selected defenseman Carson Lambos. The Canadian has a strong left-handed shot that helped him score eight goals with 24 assists during the 2019-20 season and projects as an offensive defenseman.

Lambos played in just two games with a leg injury this past season but figures to be a key part on the blue line for the Wild.

This marks the second time in franchise history that the Wild have had two picks in the first round and may be a surprise considering the rumors surrounding a potential trade for Jack Eichel.

But the Wild have several weeks to get that or any deal for a top center done. On Friday night, they may have taken a big stride to solve one of their biggest weaknesses.

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