It is with a sad, heavy heart that we have to bring Granlund Watch to a close. Unfortunately Mikael Granlund signed his entry-level contract today and will be in the State of Hockey next season so there is nothing more to be speculated. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who stayed up night and day this past year and 11 months to push him to stay in Finland and speculate on Mikael's future.
Wait, what I am saying? STANLEY CUP HOMEBOY!
Seriously though, if you missed our post from this morning - the one two down from this - Granlund signed a 3 year, $2.7 million contract with incentives that pushes his cap hit to $2.1 million per season. Signing the Finnish forward doesn't make Minnesota an elite team overnight but they're much better than 24 hours ago. Small steps everyone.
Covering the coverage and Mikael's "Day" after the jump...
First of all, here's what we know:
-Mikael will be wearing #64
-He will be getting every chance to play with the Wild despite this one fan's belief Granlund will play for the Orlando Solar Bears. Chuck Fletcher feels Granlund is ready.
-The deal made Slovenian news (which remarkably isn't that bad on Google Translate). And Quebec French. And French French.
-His name is pronounced Mee-Kyle, which brings up a good point that we'll miss.
-Granlund has trended most of the day on Twitter
It's also gotten people to go out and buy those #64 Mikael Granlund jerseys as our buddy Giles Ferrell of Team of 18,001 did.
Minnesota has gotten a lot of positive coverage on this, Mikael Granlund Day. Seriously, the Wild website is all Granlund, all the time right now - the only thing that could make it better is having the NWO music starting to play after he introduces himself.
(Seriously, it's the best move Minnesota has done this year. Take the best parts of "The Decision" and toss out the worst and this is what you have.)
Finland has of course gotten in the act with articles by Iltalethi, MTV3, Sportti and a score of others. Same goes with Minnesota as 1500 ESPN, KFAN, Pioneer Press, Fox Sports North, Hockeybuzz, Hockey Wilderness, Gone Puck Wild and Hockey's Future.
But the two best things to come out of the coverage are Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher's conference call along with Granlund and agent Todd Diamond (which you can listen to here) and Michael Russo's work at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
It goes without saying that Russo is a hard worker but he makes us feel like slackers. Although it's worth your time to read the entire blog post, here are the biggest things to take away:
-Mikael Granlund "can be a little bit like Lennon and McCartney walking in the streets over there." He's the most Googled athlete in Finland over the last two years (something which would make sense because it seems like First Round Bust is big in Finland).
-Despite many articles saying that the Finnish forward would play with countryman Mikko Koivu, Fletcher said that where he plays is up to head coach Mike Yeo. That will be one of the ongoing storylines as training camp nears because while Mikael has played center with HIFK, he can also be used on either wing and the Wild have its share of centers now and coming up.
-Finally, Russo asked a pair of scouts who have seen Granlund to assess him and go on record. There's much more (again, read the whole thing) but here is one snippet from Mike Johnson that stuck out (emphasized italics is Russo).
So you have doubts he’ll be a future elite first-liner? “Well, on the Wild, he’ll probably be a first-line winger. Depends what you consider elite. Will he be a point-a-game player? I don’t see it, because I don’t see him being able to skate that well. Can he play with Mikko and Dany Heatley and get 60 points? He probably can. Now if that’s considered elite, I don’t think it is, but that’s probably a first-line winger. He has skill that you can’t teach, and those are the players that harder to get. The thing that I saw that he needs to work on most is probably stuff that you can change, and that’s a little bit of fitness and a little bit of explosiveness in his skating.”
Here's what we're making up:
Day 4: Mikael's To-Do List
-Wake up and make awesome video: check
-Check out condos in St. Paul: checl
-Talk with some reporters: check
-Give away secret to hockey greatness:
-Nap time: check
-Get my Lennon on: check
-Chill with tha homees: check
Here's our final thoughts:
While we're glad the whole ordeal is over (despite having some fun with this), it seems fitting to end Granlund Watch with a tweet from another Minnesota Wild prospect and the players himself:
Congrats to Mikael Granlund on signing with the @mnwild. Welcome to the State Of Hockey! #gowild"I’ve talked to Mikko and he's said many good things about Minnesota. The organization has been great. I’m just looking forward to playing there. I think it’s a big help for me that Mikko is there and other Finnish players, too. Hopefully everything goes well."
— Jason Zucker (@Jason_Zucker16) May 23, 2012
Previous Granlund Watch Posts:
Day 3: Too Many Rappers, Not Enough Mikael
Day 2: Got 29 Contracts But Number 64 Ain't 1