The Minnesota Wild's offseason is on following a brutal six-game series against the Dallas Stars, but that doesn't mean that the State of Hockey is done just yet.
The single largest producer of NHL players in the U.S. (and it isn't all that close), Minnesota is well-represented in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with everyone from the top-ranked Washington Capitals to the hard-hitting St. Louis Blues packing a bit of the North Star state this year.
So, with that in mind, we've put together our first Minnesotan All-First Round team, spotlighting the best Minnesota natives of the playoffs so far.
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Also: We didn't forget the goalies, there just weren't any options, although we're reserving a spot for St. Paul's Alex Stalock and Lakeville's Charlie Lindgren in the future.
Kyle Okposo, New York Islanders
The Islanders finally dispatched the Florida Panthers, winning Game 6 in double overtime, and Okposo was a major contributor. The St. Paul native had points in all but two games in the series, scoring in the opener and adding five assists against the Panthers, including a helper on captain John Tavares' series-winner.
T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals
Alright, so technically Oshie was born in Washington (the state), but we're not holding that against Roseau County's favorite son. A graduate of Warroad High School, Oshie mans the Washington Capitals' top line alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, and picked up four points (one goal, three assists) in a 4-2 series win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
David Backes, St. Louis Blues
After three straight first-round exits Backes and the Blues finally exorcised their playoff demons on Monday, knocking off the Chicago Blackhawks in seven games. An all-state player at Spring Lake Park High School, Backes scored the overtime winner in Game 1, racking up four points in the series.
Brady Skjei, New York Rangers
A star for both Lakeville North and the Gophers, Skjei appeared in just seven games for the Rangers during the regular season, but played a critical role on New York's blue line during their five-game series loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Skjei saw time on the Rangers' top defensive pairing alongside fellow Minnesotan Ryan McDonagh, chipping in two assists, and is clearly a major factor in the blue shirts' plans moving forward.
Nick Leddy, New York Islanders
The Islanders' six-game series win over the Panthers was their first in 23 years, and Leddy was among their top options on defense. A standout at Eden Prairie High School, Leddy led the Islanders in average ice time at an even 29 minutes in the first round, while chipping in three assists.
Nick Bjugstad, Florida Panthers
Bjugstad missed the final two games of the Panthers' series against the Islanders, and it's not difficult to imagine that the 6-foot-6 center's presence might have altered the outcome of the series. Another Blaine High School alum, Bjugstad notched four points in three games in his first trip to the playoffs.