Granlund has landed in Minnesota 5/24/2012
Welcome to the State of Hockey Mikael Granlund!!!
Yesterday it became official: Mikael Granlund is a member of the Minnesota Wild. It was widely expected that the 9th overall pick in the 2010 draft and the Wild would have no problem getting a contract done before the June 1st deadline, but that withstanding, it is nice to see it become official. Granlund signed his 3 year 2.1 million dollar entry level deal yesterday morning, bringing the Wild much needed offense, and creating some good buzz for the organization. The Wild have been very savvy with the Granlund signing. They have advertised that Granlund jerseys, featuring his well known number 64, will be in all 3 Hockey Lodge stores (the official merchandise store of the Minnesota Wild) on Friday. They also have a promotion offering the first 64 people to become new season ticket holders an autographed Mikael Granlund jersey. Very well done from a marketing and advertising perspective, now let’s hope this all rolls over to good things on the ice.
With that said, where will Mikael Granlund fit in on the Wild roster as constructed? He will be a top 6 forward for this team, be it at the Wing or at Center. My guess is that he will Center the second line. Things can always change with free agency, the draft, and the Wild’s mass amount of blossoming prospects entering the fold this year, but Granlund is going to be on the Wild roster from day 1. Who will be around him may be another story. Pierre-Marc Bouchard will be back provided he is healthy to finish out the last year of his contract. Guillaume Latendresse may be another story. Gui is a RFA this year, and his qualifying offer is 2.5 million, which is a little steep for a guy who has played only 27 games over the last 2 seasons. Will the Wild extend that offer, or let him become UFA? Time will tell, but I would really hate to see Gui go. The guy can be an absolute monster if he can get healthy. In the brief time we saw him last season, he was astounding. He was physical, he was working hard, and he was scoring goals. The Wild need to do the utmost possible to keep G-Lat in the Iron Range Red for the foreseeable future, even with the emergence of Charlie Coyle, who has a great chance at making this Wild team next season as well.
Perhaps the most exciting part of this signing is the realization that this is the new era of Wild hockey that has been bantered about for the last couple of seasons coming to fruition. All these building blocks for the future are here. Granlund has clearly been the most polarizing of the youngsters, but right behind him are Charlie Coyle, Zack Philips, Johan Larsson, Brent Bulmer, Jonas Brodin, and the now experienced vet of the group Jason Zucker (Zucker signed out of Denver University last season and played in the Wild’s last 6 games). Perhaps for the first time in a while there is legitimate hope for the Wild franchise and its fans. After so many failed first round picks (A.J. Thelen, Benoit Pouliot, James Sheppard, Colton Gillies, and Tyler Cuma- not necessarily a bust yet, but It’s been 4 years and he has only played 1 NHL game) and some mediocre play over the last few seasons, the Wild look primed and ready to build on that hot start they had at the beginning of last season.
In closing, I can’t wait for the Draft, Free Agency, and Training Camps to start. Luckily the playoffs have been amazing, and a great watch in between all of that. Congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings on their Stanley Cup finals birth. They are playing amazing hockey at the moment. The Finals are going to be an awesome show no matter which team they play.
As always, I wish you all a wonderful weekend and Thank You all for reading.
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