If phase one of the Minnesota Wild's offseason roster construction was the NHL Draft, phase two is about to get in full swing with the Wild back in Minnesota after selecting four new players in Buffalo.
What the Wild didn't do, and what hardly any teams across the league did, was make a trade that moved NHL assets, pro roster players of consequence.
In two days at First Niagara Center, with the brain trusts of all 30 teams separated by arm's lengths on the NHL Draft floor, eight trades were made that saw players with appreciable NHL experience get moved.
BUFFALO -- A prospect on the rise, one that fell in the ranks, and a less-polished project was how Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr described Minnesota's three selections on day two of the NHL Draft.
The Wild added Brandon Duhaime, a left wing, in the fourth round, and forward Dmitry Sokolov and defenseman Braydyn Chizen in the seventh.
Duhaime is a player whom Flahr said impressed the Wild from start-to-finish this season with the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League. Duhaime is committed to play at Providence College this fall.
BUFFALO -- Luke Kunin grew up idolizing Keith Tkachuk. A product of Chesterfield, Missouri, just west of St. Louis, Kunin was a Blues. His father Mark, who played high school hockey, had Kunin on skates before he could walk.
But Tkachuk wasn't a poster-idol, and was never that far away. Neither was his son, Matthew, whom Kunin calls, "One of my best friends."
Kunin was one of five Missourians, all born and raised in St. Louis or nearby, to be selected in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft on Friday.
BUFFALO -- When Luke Kunin was about seven or eight years old, he was cut from his first hockey team by father and the team's coach, Mark.
"I don't know if I forgave him," Luke said. "But it was pretty funny."
Roughly a decade later, father and son shared a new moment, one far less tense, when the Minnesota Wild used the 15th pick in the 2016 NHL Draft to select Luke, a forward, and a native of Chesterfield, Missouri.
BUFFALO -- Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher said the decision to buy out the final year of forward Thomas Vanek's contract boiled down to a financial decision.
In doing so, the Wild gets an additional $5 million in cap space for this offseason, giving Minnesota approximately $14 million to spend this summer.
"It’s always difficult. Thomas came here for all the right reasons," Fletcher said. " But unfortunately for our situation, we needed to clear some cap space and that was the easiest way for us to get the space we feel we need to move forward this summer."
With the 2016 Wells Fargo Road Tour underway, Wild.com will check in with each leg, and pick the brains of the Minnesota Wild players on the road.
WildTV was joined by 2016 NHL Draft prospect Charles McAvoy, who talked about his expectations heading into Friday night, and on joining a talented Boston University team.
WildTV was joined by NHL.com's Adam Kimelman, who discussed some possibilities for the Minnesota Wild heading into the 2016 NHL Draft, including what the Wild could do with the 15th pick, some players Minnesota could target in the later rounds, and how the Wild's current prospect pool is performing.
BUFFALO -- The coach's challenge, video review, and goaltender equipment were some of the topics discussed during a General Manager's meeting on Thursday in Buffalo, a day before the 2016 NHL Draft begins.
All 30 teams convened, and the coach's challenge specifically was a long topic of conversation, which included head coaches from around the league.
This past season was the first in which the NHL used a coach's challenge to review scoring plays, whether they were offside or if there was interference with the goaltender.