Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Mikael Granlund to the Minnesota Wild.
The 9th overall pick in 2010 has finally signed his entry-level contract with the team. According to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Granlund signed a standard 3-year, $2.7 million ELC contract although performance bonuses push the cap hit to $2.1 million per season.
Mikael (not to be confused with Michael) has been the most hyped prospect the team has had since Marian Gaborik, both in the State of Hockey and his native Finland. As a 17 year-old playing in SM-Liiga (Finland's highest league), he scored 40 points (17 goals - 30 assists) before being drafted by the Wild. Even then, as this pre-draft documentary shows, Granlund was big news in Finland and he continued to make waves scoring a lacrosse goal in the 2011 World Championships and becoming a household name and celebrity overnight.
This past season, Granlund finished third in SM-Liiga with 51 points (20 goals - 31 assists) in 45 games despite being sick for the final month of the season and missing time captaining Finland's Under-20 World Junior Championship team, where Granlund was second in scoring. He just completed his second consecutive World Championships for Finland, where the 20 year-old had a goal and four assists in 10 games.
With the contract, Minnesota locks up the final valuable piece of their future and makes sure they do not lose his rights. If Mikael wasn't by June 1, he would have re-entered the draft. Instead, the Wild now have another Finnish superstar in their top-six.