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Wild have methodical plan for first round of 2015 draft

NHL.com @NHL

Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr share the same opinion when it comes to the 2015 NHL Draft.

The 2015 draft will be held June 26-27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. The first round is June 26 (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports); rounds 2-7 will be June 27 (10 a.m. ET; NHLN, TVA Sports).

"This is a deep draft; we've known that for a while," Flahr said Monday in a video on the Wild's website. "There's a number of different positions. If you talk to a lot of teams the top 11 or 12 players in the draft will be probably similar on each teams' list, they're probably in a little different order. … It's just a matter of what teams do in front of us and we'll take the best player we can."

The Wild take a methodical approach to the first round, according to Fletcher.

"For the first round we work really hard on our top 30," he said in a video on the Wild's website. "We work hard to put them in order and we'll simply cross off 19 names and the next name will be the player we pick. The idea behind that is you don't want a lot of debate at the table; you don't want emotion to get into it."

Fletcher said that approach will change in the later rounds depending on how many forwards or defensemen the Wild have drafted. Sifting through their list, he said they will take the player who "makes the most sense at that time."

Because he doesn't want to give up a second-round pick this year, Fletcher said his team has been comfortable with its spot at No. 20 in the first round and hasn't talked much about moving up.

"We're really happy with picking 20 this year," Fletcher said. "Some year picking 20 you're not sure who's going to get to you. But there's a group of at least 20 players we really like … even at 50 [in the second round] will hold surprises."

Fletcher said it isn't just hockey skill the Wild look for, especially early in the draft.

"We put a premium on character and hockey sense," he said. "Those are the two things that every player at the top of our list has to have. And after that we're looking for the biggest, fastest, most skilled player."

Fletcher said there are five goalies the Wild staff has its eyes on. He said there is a new philosophy when determining what makes a promising goalie, and it tends toward finding bigger players.

"Now you see a 6-foot goalie at the [NHL Scouting] Combine and you think, 'Is he big enough?'" Fletcher said.

While a goaltender hasn't been picked in the first round since 2012, Fletcher said he's been impressed by the goaltending crop for this year's draft.

"The scary thing is that they're so athletic," Fletcher said. "The joke was when I started playing hockey in the '70s, we put the worst athlete in goal. The guy who really couldn’t skate was in goal."

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