The Minnesota Wild selected center Luke Kunin (pronounced KUHN-in) with the 15th overall pick in the first round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft tonight at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y.
“Luke is a versatile, two-way forward that can play center and wing,” said Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr. “He has a tremendous work ethic, great speed and an NHL shot. He’s been a leader everywhere he’s played and we are excited to welcome him to the Minnesota Wild organization.”
Kunin, 18 (12/4/97), totaled 32 points (19-13=32) and 34 penalty minutes (PIM) in 34 games during his first season at the University of Wisconsin in 2015-16, leading the club in goals and shots, and ranking second in points.
The native of Chesterfield, Mo., was the second-youngest player in the NCAA in 2015-16, but tied for third in goals amongst all freshman skaters and became the first Badger to be named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
The 6-foot, 193-pound forward totaled 33 points (18-15=33) and 28 PIM in 52 games as captain of the U.S. National Team Development Program’s Under-18 Team in 2014-15. Kunin registered 38 points (20-18=38) and 39 PIM in 52 games with the U.S. NTDP’s Under-17 Team in 2013-14.
He captained Team USA to a gold medal at the 2015 Under-18 World Championship, scoring six goals in seven games, and helped the U.S. claim gold at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Kunin entered the evening ranked 11th in the final NHL Draft Prospect Ratings of North American Skaters.
The Wild currently owns three picks in rounds 2-7 of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft which starts Saturday at 9 a.m. CT on the NHL Network: #106 in the fourth round and #196 and #204 in the seventh round. Additional on-site coverage of the Wild’s 2016 draft selections is available at wild.com/DraftCentral.
[Minnesota Wild press release]