Minnesota Wild top prospect Liam Ohgren knows how significant this offseason is for his development.

And for his goal in September.

“It’s very important,” Ohgren told after his first practice inside Tria Rink with the team on April 17. “I think I need to get a lot of work done, so I come back to [training] camp feeling very comfortable and better than I am now.”

Ohgren’s season was filled with both highs and lows. But he enters this offseason having reached an important milestone and having made a strong first impression with the Wild, who drafted him in the first round in 2022.

“I’m living my childhood dream right now,” Ohgren said on April 17. “So it’s exciting, and I’m very happy to be here.”

Ohgren’s season didn’t start the way he imagined it, but it ended with his dream coming true with the Wild. As Ohgren reflected on his season, he described last fall as “very tough,” with an injury delaying his season about three months until he made his debut with his new team, Farjestad, on Nov. 21.

Ohgren decided last summer to play for Farjestad this season in the Swedish Hockey League — the highest league in Sweden — after his former team, Djurgardens, lost in the SHL Qualifier Finals. Ohgren had 11 goals and 20 points in 36 games in 2022-23 with Djurgardens in HockeyAllsvenskan, the second highest league in Sweden.

The decision proved to be beneficial for his development, and Ohgren put together a strong second half after returning from injury. The 20-year-old winger scored 12 goals and 19 points in 26 games (a .73 point-per-game rate) and finished with a +12 rating with Farjestad this season. Ohgren also captained Sweden to silver at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship in January.

The Wild are pleased with Ohgren’s progress and how he overcame the injury and had a productive second half of the season.

“Proud of him for how he handled that and got through that and then came back and had a very solid season in the SHL pretty much just playing half a season there,” Wild Director of Player Development Brad Bombardir told

“He became an important player for them, a reliable player. And he kind of built his game through the second half as well.”

What does that say about Ohgren?

“That just shows you his maturity and his willingness just to stay on the course and be patient, and he did just that,” Bombardir added. “So it was really positive for him to have a second half in the SHL like he did. It was great for him to have that.”

Ohgren feels like he took another step in his development this season despite missing the first half of the year because of that injury.

“I think I got better and better every game and every practice and got more comfortable and more confident,” Ohgren said of his second half play.

Ohgren saw his season end in the SHL when his No. 1 ranked Farjestad got swept by ninth-seed Rogle in the opening round of the playoffs. With his season unexpectedly over so early, the Wild invited him to come play with Iowa in the AHL.

Ohgren skated in three games with Iowa and immediately made an impression after his arrival to North America. Iowa GM and Wild Director of Hockey Operations Mike Murray watched Ohgren play in those three games before the recall to Minnesota.

“There’s a maturity to his game,” Murray said. “He’s a responsible 200-foot player. He’s strong on the walls. And the two things that really define his game are his explosive skating — his first step is just as explosive as I’ve seen, very strong skater — and then his shot is second to none. He has an NHL-caliber shot already.

“So he has defining skill sets that will put him in position to be a successful NHL player for a long time.”

Then the day that Ohgren had long been waiting for arrived: his NHL debut.

The Wild recalled Ohgren on April 10 before their three-game West Coast swing. Ohgren, 20, made his NHL debut in Las Vegas on April 12 and then scored his first NHL goal and assisted on another in San Jose in his second game.

While he didn’t reach the scoresheet in the final road game in L.A. or in his Xcel Energy Center debut in the season finale against Seattle, he didn’t look out of place.

“It’s been my dream my whole life to play in the NHL,” Ohgren said, “and to finally get there, it's a huge accomplishment and a big moment for me and my family.”

Ohgren, who Bombardir says “already has a solid foundation to his game,” showed a glimpse of his potential during the four-game late-season audition. Ohgren played an efficient two-way game and finished with two points (1G, 1A), eight shots, a drawn penalty and a 14:31 average time on-ice total.

“What you see is what you get with him,” Bombardir said, later adding that Ohgren’s attention to detail has been his biggest improvement over the past year. “Really powerful skater straight ahead, and he's got a really good shot, heavy, heavy, sneaky shot as well. And he's got good hockey sense, too, so he understands the game.

“And he understands the game away from the puck, too, which is huge for especially young guys coming into the league and trying to find their way, so I think that's helped him as well. So happy with his start. There’s still plenty of runway for him to keep moving forward, but it’s been a positive start for him.”

Not only did Ohgren make a strong first impression, but he made his case for being on the Wild’s roster next season.

“Liam has made a strong case for himself,” Head Coach John Hynes said on April 17. “His speed and pace is NHL. He’s got good strength to him when you look at him in the competitive battles of the game. He’s got a power play element to him, and he seems like he’s getting more and more comfortable in a short period of time.”

Added Wild GM/President of Hockey Operations Bill Guerin: “I’ve been impressed with him. You can just tell he’s got that burst of speed. He’s sound defensively already. He’s been really good.”

Ohgren feels like he belongs.

“It feels like I can play this game at this level,” he said, “but of course I got to do this in 82 games, and that’s very tough. But I don’t wanna be anywhere else than here.”

Getting a taste of the NHL and familiarity with the environment will help prepare him for next fall. He will have another opportunity to showcase his readiness at training camp in September — where he hopes to grab a full-time roster spot.

“You get to feel how it is on the ice and off the ice as well. You get to know everyone on the team and everyone on the staff,” Ohgren said. “So, it’s been really good for me, I think, and I’m gonna do everything I can to make the team next year, and I think this is a good first step.”