Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher isn't keen on taking goalies in the early rounds of the NHL draft. Neither is Brent Flahr, the team's assistant general manager.

But Friday, when the NHL draft kicks off at the Wells Fargo Center, Fletcher and Flahr might face a decision that will test their draft philosophies. Fletcher and Flahr, who have long preached the importance of picking the best player available regardless of position, might use their first-round pick -- No. 18 overall -- to fill an organizational weakness in net.

Online mock drafts have linked the Wild to 18-year-old Thatcher Demko, the consensus top goalie in the draft. If drafted, he would become the Wild's goalie of the future. The distant future.

"Any goalie we draft this year, you're not going to see for probably four or five years down the road, realistically," Flahr said.

A goalie from this draft won't affect the team's current logjam in net, where Niklas Backstrom, Josh Harding and Darcy Kuemper are expected to fill 2014-15 roster spots. But the Wild have just three goalies below the NHL ranks, none of whom was drafted before the sixth round.

In five drafts with the Wild, Fletcher and Flahr have selected only one goalie in the first five rounds: Matt Hackett, a third-rounder in 2009 who went to Buffalo last year in the trade that brought Jason Pominville to Minnesota.