MIKAEL GRANLUND Scouting Reports
Date of birth: 02/26/1992
Drafted: 1st round, 9th overall in 2010 by Minnesota
Mikael Granlund was an early favorite for the Calder Trophy this season, but he has struggled to find his place on the team since the lockout ended. He has dominated play in Finland for most of his professional career, and was putting up impressive numbers (as well as being named player of the month) in the AHL before being sidelined with an injury at the beginning of November. It seems like a lack of size, trouble adjusting to the smaller rink and faster player have contributed to him being scratched from multiple games this season already.
However, Granlund is still progressing overall and it is just a matter of time before he finds his game in the NHL. While it might be too late for him to be a viable candidate for the Calder this year, there is no question that he will develop into a great playmaker who will impact the league for seasons to come.
Before the season, Granlund was probably expected to be a Calder candidate, but those expectations were soon forgotten once the season got going. He’s has had a so-so season so far, being scratched a few times and even centering the fourth line on occasion.The bright-side is that he’s getting better and his attitude is not going to be a problem. He’s been working hard all season to adjust his game to the North American style of hockey and he’s starting to get it. The potential is there, and he’s showed a few flashes of brilliance with his passing while playing with Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Dany Heatley on the 2nd/3rd line recently. He won’t be a Calder candidate by any means, but he’ll probably start contributing offensively and will give the Wild a second offensive threat behind the first line of Parise, Koivu and Coyle. If that happens, the Wild’s quest of reaching the play-offs for the first time since will get a lot easier.
The Good: Mikael Granlund is an elite puck possessor who is magical with the puck on his stick. He has plus plus puck skills who can make defensemen miss at will. Granlund is a very imaginative player that can create space for himself so well. He’s also an elite thinker who can make wow-caliber passes, and when he sets up to look down his options, there aren’t many players who display the combination of vision, patience, and offensive sense that he does. He has a fine on-ice work ethic and commits to defense and is smart in that end as well.
The Bad: His skating has gotten a little better, but he’s still below average in that aspect. Granlund’s size hinders him as well as he projects as a replacement-level physical player in the NHL.
Projection: He has the potential to be an All-Star center.
RUSS MILLER OF DOBBER HOCKEY
Granlund was considered one of the top prospects and a Calder trophy candidate heading into this season. Last season, he recorded 51 points in 45 games as a teenager for HIFK in Finland’s top circuit. In his three seasons with HIFK, Granlund finished with 127 points in 129 games. He had 21 points in 19 World Junior Championship games and 14 points in 19 World Championship matches.
The 21-year-old has had some issues adjusting to the pace of the NHL game. He was a healthy scratch twice early in the season and had six points after his first 16 games. Granlund is scoring at the same pace as teammate Zach Parise did in his rookie season. Things aren’t clicking for Granlund right now, but the talent is there and it is only a matter of time before we start seeing increased production.
VIDEO: Mikael Granlund scores his first NHL goal 1/19/13