Looking back at the Wild’s 2000 expansion draft haul
The Las Vegas Golden Knights are turning hockey on its ear this week.
General manager George McPhee and his staff will swipe 30 players — one from each team — at 7 p.m. on Wednesday during the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft.
But while Minnesota Wild fans are biting their nails at the prospect of losing a young defenseman like Matt Dumba or a high-scoring veteran like Eric Staal, this is a familiar process for the State of Hockey.
They’ve been here before.
The Wild and the Columbus Blue Jackets took part in the NHL’s last expansion draft in 2000.
The crop of players wasn’t as impressive as Vegas’ haul in 2017 is likely to be, but there were still some gems to be found.
The Wild selected the following players in 2000. Read on for some of our favorites, as well as a few selections that look a little odd in hindsight, and one major missed opportunity.
|Stacy Roest||C||Red Wings|
|Darryl Laplante||C||Red Wings|
One of the most recognizable defensemen in Wild history, Kuba got his start with the Florida Panthers before being traded to Calgary, where he was left unprotected for the draft. Kuba would go on to appear in 357 games for the Wild in five seasons and ranks fourth all-time in scoring for a defenseman with 132 points. Kuba helped the Wild to the 2003 Western Conference semifinals, where they were swept by the Anaheim Ducks.
The Wild employed a rotating captaincy until settling on Mikko Koivu for good in 2009. But while Koivu was the first full-time captain in the franchise’s history, O’Donnell was the first player to wear the “C.” He was eventually dealt at the trade deadline during Minnesota’s inaugural season for defenseman Willie Mitchell after scoring 16 points in 63 games.
Another draft acquisition who was traded at the deadline in Year 1, Pellerin was dealt to the Carolina Hurricanes for a pair of draft picks and the rights to Latvian forward Askhat Rakhmatulin. Pellerin scored 39 points in 58 games before the trade, and would finish the season as the Wild’s first leading scorer despite not being in Minnesota for the entire campaign.
A native of Richfield and a star at the University of Minnesota, Hendrickson was the perfect fit for the Wild after being left exposed by the Vancouver Canucks. Minnesota’s “Mr. Hockey” winner in 1991, Hendrickson added to his local legacy on Oct. 11, 2001, when he scored the Wild’s first goal at Xcel Energy Center in the first period of a game against the Philadelphia Flyers. He spent four years with the Wild before being traded to the Colorado Avalanche.
In an odd twist, two-time Stanley Cup winner and Calgary Flames goaltending great Mike Vernon was briefly a member of the Wild after being selected in the draft. Vernon was playing for the Florida Panthers at the time of his selection and was almost immediately traded back to the Flames, a team he’d spent 10 years with, for forward Dan Cavanaugh and a draft pick.
A true journeyman, Armstrong didn’t amount to much in the NHL, but he holds the odd distinction of being taken in both the 1998 and 2000 expansion drafts. Originally drafted by the Florida Panthers in 1993, he spent much of the ’90s bouncing between the IHL, WHL and AHL. The Nashville Predators nabbed Armstrong from the Panthers in 1998, but parted ways with him a year later. He signed with the San Jose Sharks, before being selected by the Wild in 2000. He made three of his seven total NHL appearances with the Wild, finishing his career with no goals, no penalty minutes and one assist.
The Blue Jackets may have landed Roloson the first time around, but he made his way to the Wild not long after. Buffalo Sabres goalie Dominik Hasek’s backup from 1998-99, Roloson was selected by the Blue Jackets in the expansion draft. However, he spurned Columbus, signing with the AHL’s Worcester IceCats instead. He ultimately ditched the Blue Jackets for the Wild, signing with Minnesota in 2001 and earning a spot in the 2004 All-Star Game despite splitting time with Manny Fernandez.
Martin St. Louis
These days St. Louis is widely-regarded as one of the greatest undrafted players of all-time, but back in 2000 he was just an undrafted, 5-foot-8 college kid. St. Louis signed with the Calgary Flames after a brief stint in the IHL and was technically available to the Wild and the Blue Jackets during the expansion draft. Both teams passed, the Flames bought out his contract and St. Louis signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He went on to become a champion for undersized skaters everywhere, playing 15 seasons in the NHL while racking up 953 points, 588 assists and 365 goals. St. Louis won the Art Ross Trophy in 2004 after leading the Lightning to their first Stanley Cup. Never forget: it’s pronounced “Mar-tan San Lou-eee.”