With their seventh-round pick traded in a package to the Montreal Canadiens in order to select Josh Pillar of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers in the fourth round, the Minnesota Wild’s final pick of the draft came in the sixth-round at 182nd-overall. With that pick, GM Bill Guerin and crew were able to snag Nate Benoit, a defenseman from the University of North Dakota of the NCAA.
A “tough to play against” defender, Benoit tallied 11 goals and 32 points in 33 games with Mount St. Charles Academy at the high school level. He played three games with the Tri-City Americans of the USHL, but failed to register a point. Considered a project by many scouts, there are some confident in his upside. Kirk Luedeke of the New England Hockey Journal had this to say;
At 6’ 1” and 181 pounds, Benoit is the stereotypical stay-at-home defenseman, with a feisty, competitive edge. In his roundup of the Wild’s draft, Corey Pronman of The Athletic said that Benoit “has some interesting offensive tools, showing good vision as a puck-mover and a hard point shot. He defends fine, showing a good compete level in battles. His skating isn’t the best, with a stride that breaks down at times and lacks quickness.”