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  • Can the Wild Keep the Terik Parascak To Riley Heidt Connection Alive?

    Image courtesy of @PGCougars Twitter screenshot
    Tony Abbott


    Terik Parascak scored 43 goals and 105 points in the WHL as a 17-year-old, which means he's not sneaking up on anyone. Still, you can bet that the Minnesota Wild have gotten an incredibly close look at the wing prospect because he plays on the Prince George Cougars along with 2023 second-rounder Riley Heidt.

    Heidt was the breakout prospect in the Wild system this past year, finishing third in the WHL with 117 points (37 goals) in 66 games. Whenever Minnesota's scouts checked in on Heidt, they often took in Parascak's game, usually within the same scoring play.


    Parascak potted 49 goals for Prince George between the regular season and playoffs. Heidt assisted on 22 of them or around 45%. Heidt also factored on 26 of Parascak's 70 total assists, which includes Parascak getting the helper on six of Heidt's goals. As crucial cogs in Prince George's lethal power play (which led the WHL with 84 goals), the Parascak-Heidt connection was strong.

    Will the Wild be tempted to keep that duo together?

    Chemistry probably shouldn't factor into a draft decision unless it's a supernatural level like the Vancouver Canucks got with Daniel and Henrik Sedin in the 1999 Draft. These two aren't the Sedins, and stapling a prospect to another before either is even in the AHL feels premature. Lines and combinations change all the time, even in the NHL.

    So the question is whether the Wild should want Parascak, regardless of whether or not Heidt remains in the organization. Minnesota's scouts will likely drool over Parascak because he shows many traits they value.

    Remember, head of scouting Judd Brackett is on the record saying, "You can't live without" hockey sense. However, hearing that doesn't quite tell us exactly what Brackett is looking for. When asked to elaborate last week, he lifted the curtain to give us a peek into what's in a scout's brain when trying to get inside a player's brain.

    "It's by far the hardest [skill] to quantify," Brackett told reporters over Zoom. "It's an innate ability. It's reading and reacting, it's inserting yourself into the play, it's understanding where other players are.... It's hard to put your finger on it, but when guys have it, you know it."

    Parascak builds his game on his smarts in all the ways Brackett describes. "He regularly gets to the right spots at the right time to bang home rebounds, tap in backdoor passes, or get out in transition to give his D a stretch option on outlets," says The Athletic's Scott Wheeler in his Draft Rankings. "He makes things happen offensively. He always seems to be around chances."

    Once Parascak identifies and gets to those soft spots, well... you see the player who scored nearly 50 goals last year. "He beats goalies across the crease with one-timers and fires back towards their push-off side with catch-and-release wristers," says Elite Prospects describing his in-close game. "Just as opponents dive in front of the shot, he slips the puck across the slot for an even better look."

    And once again, let's not forget that hockey sense. "No matter which choice he makes, it's usually the best one," EP's Draft Guide continues.

    So how does an extremely smart player scoring 100-plus points in the WHL as a true 17-year-old (he didn't turn 18 until May) end up someone who could potentially fall to the second round? His detractors point to his feet, with many scouts concerned about his skating. "He has a heavy stride that lacks any kind of NHL footspeed," says Corey Pronman, who ranks him 37th in the class. 

    There's also some belief that his numbers were inflated by being on that power play with Heidt, Zac Funk (league-leading 123 WHL points last season), and Ondrej Becher (96 points). "The draft-by-numbers crew is gonna love this guy," an anonymous NHL scout told Elite Prospects. "I'm telling you right now that the numbers don't tell any of the story here."

    Another flatly declares: "He's a pure passenger."

    However, if you like his skating and believe in his brain, you can be a big fan of Parascak's game. Just ask TSN's Craig Button, who ranked him 13th (where the Wild are slotted!) in his rankings. "He's not just a one-trick pony, [he] kills penalties, plays at even-strength at a high, high level. While he may not be a player who overwhelms you with this flash in his game, he's got real significant ability," Button raves in his draft profile on Parascak. 

    It's weird to call a player without elite skating, a blistering shot, or massive size a boom-or-bust prospect, but could well be what he is. The bet is whether his hockey sense is going to help him along as he breaks into the pro level. "If the team that drafts Parascak is lucky, he's a true outlier and could become the next Joe Pavelski," McKeen's Hockey declares. Then they add, "If they're unlucky, he tops out as a good, longtime AHL player."

    If you read between the lines, Brackett should believe that Parascak will get the most out of his abilities. "We think [hockey sense] is the most translatable [trait] between whatever levels you're playing at now and future success," he told the Zoom press scrum. It sounds like the Wild are as likely to roll the dice on Parascak as any team.

    Just don't expect them to take that chance at Pick 13, as Parascak is listed at No. 30 on Elite Prospects' Consolidated Rankings. But it's far from impossible to see Parascak in a Minnesota sweater later this week. He could fall to the Wild in the second round because they hold the 45th pick. The Wild can also trade back in the first round, targeting Parascak with an extra pick in the late-first/early-second rounds.

    If Parascak does find his way into the organization, the Wild will have an extremely smart forward with built-in chemistry with Heidt, one of their best prospects. The latter part is just a cherry on top, but if the two can make each other better at the WHL, it gives Minnesota fans something to dream on going forward.


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    Thought I read he is one of the younger guys in the draft. I would like for the Wild to get him but I think he's gonna go between 20-40. 


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    He’s incredibly smart from what I read about him but his skating isn’t very good by most accounts. I definitely don’t want him at #13 but would love him if it was with our 2nd rd pick. He’s very likely going to go in the 1st round though.

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