NHL Prospect Watch – Minnesota Wild
In the lead-up to the 2023-24 NHL season, we’re taking a look at the current and former WHL talent in each NHL Club’s prospect pool. In this 32-part series, we’ll highlight the WHL players signed to an NHL contract or recently drafted, 25 years of age or younger with 50 or fewer NHL games played. Join us for a brand-new season of NHL Prospect Watch!
We continue with the prospect pool of the Minnesota Wild.
A third-round pick by the Minnesota Wild in the 2021 NHL Draft, forward Caedan Bankier set career bests in 2022-23 with the Kamloops Blazers, totalling 85 points on the strength of 37 goals and 48 assists. Bankier, from Surrey, B.C., has spent four full seasons in Kamloops, chipping in with 145 points over his last two regular campaigns while adding 29 points over the course of back-to-back runs to the Western Conference Championship. This past season, Bankier also helped Canada win gold at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship, then finished off his year with a goal and three assists as the Blazers hosted the Memorial Cup. He signed an entry-level contract with the Wild in March.
🚨 SIGNING 🚨
We have signed F Caedan Bankier to a three-year, entry-level contract.
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) March 1, 2023
Like Caedan Bankier, forward Adam Beckman was a third-round pick by the Minnesota Wild in the NHL Draft; he enters his third full season of professional hockey this fall after recording 24 goals and 36 points at Iowa of the AHL last winter. Beckman, who hails from Saskatoon, Sask., also got into nine games at the NHL level with Minnesota in 2022-23, bringing his career NHL games played total to 12. As a WHLer, Beckman spent three full seasons with the Spokane Chiefs, winning WHL Player of the Year honours after a League-best 48-goal, 107-point campaign in 2019-20.
— American Hockey League (@TheAHL) March 12, 2023
Forward Riley Heidt finished the 2022-23 WHL season as the League’s co-leader in assists with 72 and for his efforts, he was selected by the Minnesota Wild in the second round of the 2023 NHL Draft. Heidt, from Saskatoon, Sask., finished last season with 97 points for the Prince George Cougars and helped the Club reach the Second Round of the WHL Playoffs for the first time in 16 years with eight points in nine post-season games. Internationally, Heidt was a two-time medalist for Canada in 2022-23, winning gold at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and a bronze medal at the 2023 IIHF U18 World Championship. He was originally selected by Prince George with the second-overall pick in the 2020 WHL Prospects Draft.
— The WHL (@TheWHL) June 29, 2023
A former captain of the Moose Jaw Warriors, defenceman Daemon Hunt enters the 2023-24 season after earning 11 points in 59 games in his rookie pro campaign with the AHL’s Iowa Wild. Hunt, from Brandon, Man., spent his entire WHL career with the Warriors and was selected by Minnesota in the third round of the 2020 NHL Draft. A two-year captain in Moose Jaw, Hunt capped off his WHL career in 2021-22 by scoring 17 goals and 39 points despite appearing in only 46 regular season games, before helping the Warriors reach the Second Round of the WHL Playoffs.
— Iowa Wild (@IAWild) June 16, 2023
Defenceman Carson Lambos captained his hometown Winnipeg ICE to the 2023 WHL Championship Series and this season, appears poised to make the jump to professional hockey after being selected by the Wild in the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft. Lambos spent his entire WHL career with the ICE franchise, breaking in on a full-time basis during the 2019-20 campaign. In each of the past two seasons, Lambos hit double digits in goals, setting a career best with 48 points during the 2022-23 season. He made 34 playoff appearances for the Club over the past two springs and in 2022 was named to the WHL East Division First All-Star Team.
— The WHL (@TheWHL) April 29, 2023
Edmonton, Alta.’s Kyle Masters enjoyed a career year in 2022-23 after being dealt to the Kamloops Blazers in a pre-season blockbuster. Masters, a fourth-round selection by the Minnesota Wild in the 2021 NHL Draft, scored 11 goals and totalled 65 points on the Blazers blue line during the regular season, then chipped in with a goal and six assists as Kamloops reached the Western Conference Championship. The 20-year-old, who signed an entry-level contract with Minnesota in March, was also named to the B.C. Division Second All-Star Team. In all, Masters has played in over 200 major junior regular season, post-season and Memorial Cup games, spending the first three years of his WHL career with the Red Deer Rebels before moving West in August of 2022.
— The WHL (@TheWHL) November 13, 2022
Forward Mikey Milne parlayed an 81-point season in 2021-22 with the Winnipeg ICE into a third-round selection by the Minnesota Wild in the 2022 NHL Draft. From there, the product of Abbotsford, B.C. made an immediate jump to professional hockey with Iowa of the AHL, making 57 appearances as a rookie this past winter. With Iowa, Milne scored seven times, totalling 13 points before appearing in two Calder Cup Playoffs contests this past spring. Milne spent his entire four-year WHL career with the ICE franchise, amassing 133 points (60G-73A) over 175 total regular season outings while also adding 13 goals in 15 career WHL Playoffs games.
it's 5-0 thanks to numba five-oh
— Iowa Wild (@IAWild) December 4, 2022
Former Kelowna Rockets forward Pavel Novak is ready to embark on his North American professional hockey career this fall after overcoming a cancer diagnosis in 2022. The Czech forward spent two seasons in the WHL with the Kelowna Rockets in 2019-20 and 2021-22, topping out at 72 points (29G-43A) during his 19-year-old season in the Okanagan. A fifth-round pick by the Wild in the 2020 NHL Draft, Novak signed his entry-level contract with the NHL Club in May of 2022.
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) October 5, 2022
Victoria Royals defenceman Kalem Parker heard his name called at the 2023 NHL Draft by the Minnesota Wild, who made him a sixth-round selection this past June in Nashville. Parker, from Clavet, Sask., led all Victoria defencemen in scoring in 2022-23, totalling 38 points (6G-32A) while appearing in all 68 regular season games for the Royals. Parker has spent each of his three WHL campaigns with Victoria, earning 64 total points after originally being selected by the Royals in the second round of the 2019 WHL Draft.
— The WHL (@TheWHL) September 1, 2023