One of the great disappointments for the Minnesota Wild was the lack of solid contributions from rookie center Mikael Granlund. Coming over for his first year after signing his entry-level deal last summer, Granlund was expected to be a Calder Trophy candidate.
That didn’t happen. In fact, Granlund was unable to stick around with the Wild consistently. He spent time bouncing around between the Wild and the Houston Aeros, not performing in any particularly noticeable fashion when he was up with Minnesota.
Granlund was expected to hold down that second line center role for the Wild in 2013. That didn’t happen. Instead, he played in only 27 games, finishing with eight points overall, including just two goals. That wasn’t coming against the highest quality of competition, either. He did have eight takeways and his faceoff percentage was decent, at 47 percent. So it isn’t all bad.
Heading into the new season, Granlund is going to have to be a lot better. With the Wild in need of consistent offensive players, a breakout season from Granlund would be a tremendous help to the club without having to make a real change this summer.
Perhaps a year to adjust and go through those types of struggles will prove better for Granlund in the long run. This is a kid with loads of potential. He has fantastic hands and playmaking skills, it’s just a matter of that translating to the highest level. If he can do that, he’ll be an impact player with the Wild as early as next season.