The wait is finally over for Minnesota Wild fans, as 20 year-old Finnish phenom Mikael Granlund officially signed with the team this morning. The deal was reportedly worth $2.7 million over three years, and was loaded with other incentives and bonuses. The announcement came in a video posted on the team’s official website.
Originally from Oulu, Finland, the 5-foot-10, 180 pound forward was the ninth overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft, and has spent the last three seasons playing in the Finnish Elite League against much older players while he completed high school and his military obligations. During his time as a member of HIFK Helsinki, Granlund was named the 2009-2010 Rookie of the Year, and also lead his team to a league championship in the following season. Last year, Granlund recorded 51 points in 45 games, good enough for sixth in the league despite a 15 game absence due to illness.
Granlund has also performed well in international competition, playing in both the IIHF World Junior Championship, as well as the IIHF World Championships. He was selected as the captain for Team Finland at the 2012 World Juniors, and played with Finnish Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu in both the 2011 and 2012 World Championships. His time spent playing with Koivu could pay off for the Wild and its chemistry in the future.
Granlund will enter the Wild’s development camp on July 9th with a great shot at making the NHL roster. Even General Manager Chuck Fletcher stated that he feels Granlund is “read to play in the NHL and our expectation is he’ll play for our club next year and contribute….Obviously, he’ll have to come to camp and play hard and earn that spot, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t.” Hopefully, Granlund can live up to the status that put his picture on a Finnish postage stamp after the 2011 World Championship.
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