2012 Minnesota Wild Prospects: #1 - Mikael Granlund
Posted by Nathan Wells on Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Center, 5'10" 180 lbs
HIFK (SM-Liiga) 51 points (20G-31A) in 45 games
After two months of counting down from 20-1, the end is finally here. We've been hoping to put off #1 long enough to see him in a Wild uniform but with the current CBA climate that's not looking likely anytime soon.
It should be no surprise that 2010 first round pick Mikael Granlund is First Round Bust's top Minnesota Wild prospect for the second straight year (and if it is you really should be paying more attention). Granlund has done nothing but build upon his legend overseas in a way that hasn't happened before. He's won a gold medal in the men's World Championships, a SM-Liiga title, captained Finland's WJC team and put up numbers as a teenager which no one short of Olli Jokinen has reached.
And no one can forget the goal that put him on a postage stamp.
The end result is Granlund has been the Finnish equivalent of Justin Bieber the last two years. His every move and what he does off the have been written and tabloid fodder even before reaching the NHL.
Not everything has gone Mikael's way, though. Last year saw him held out for a month due to an illness and although he has shown a prowess for shootouts, missed a profile chance to send Finland to the WJC final. Despite that, he still scored 51 points in 45 games (compared to 60) to finish sixth overall in scoring. His vision and ability to make teammates better around him is something which has been missing in the organization and makes it easy to overlook Granlund's wrist shot (he already has a four goal performance in the AHL; even if it was in an exhibition game).
He even got his own celebratory day that would be the highlight of the offseason if it weren't for July 4.
There's been talk about why he will fail and why he will succeed but simply put, Granlund has proved himself playing with men and is one of most anticipated players to make the jump to the NHL this year (Lockout pending). There will likely be an adjustment period - that's happening now in the AHL even if he does have 7 points in 5 games - but Granlund looks to be a fixture in Minnesota's top-six for years to come.
And that's why he's the top Wild prospect.
Previous 2012 Minnesota Wild Top 20 Articles:
#2 - Jonas Brodin
#3 - Charlie Coyle
#4 - Mathew Dumba
#5 - Johan Larsson
#6 - Matt Hackett
#7 - Brett Bulmer
#8 - Jason Zucker
#9 - Zack Phillips
#10 - Mario Lucia
#11 - Johan Gustafsson
#12 - Darcy Kuemper
#13 - Erik Haula
#14 - Daniel Gunnarsson
#15 - Raphael Bussieres
#16 - Kris Foucault
#17 - Nick Seeler
#18 - Tyler Cuma
#19 - Chay Genoway
#20 - Tyler Graovac
Photo Credit: Vincent Muzik/IconSMI