It’s no secret that the problem with the Wild for, well, ever, has been with their lack of goal scorers. Before the 2011-12 season, they made the bold move of going out to acquire Dany Heatley, and were met with limited success by most definitions. For the Wild, though, Heatley scored 24 goals and had 29 assists to lead the team goals and points, and be in second in assists. These aren’t gaudy statistics, to be sure, which goes to underscore the lack of dynamism in the Wild’s forward lines.
Mikael Granlund was the Wild’s first round draft choice in 2010, and finally signed an NHL rookie contract within the past week. The buzz around Granlund is extreme. The thought that he may be the best player since Marian Gaborik to don a Wild uniform is creating a bit of a buzz. In fact, given his credentials (the leading scorer in the Finnish Elite League last year, for example), it’s possible that Granlund could turn into the most prolific scorer in the Wild’s short history.
As the video released by the Wild shows below, Granlund handles the puck fluidly, and can avoid defenders seeking to slow him down. According to the Star Tribune, Granlund is a “rock star” in Finland. If he can score at will in the NHL, and keeps up his smiling charm, it’s no doubt that Granlund will soon be a rock star in the Twin Cities as well.
Granlund will join fellow Finn Mikko Koivu in St. Paul. Two popular players in Finland reaching success in Minnesota could turn the Wild into a pipeline for Finnish players. I like the way Finland plays the game in international competitions, so a taste of their style on the Wild would be greatly appreciated by this Wild fan.