According to the Minnesota Wild website, the team has recalled rookie forward Mikael Granlund, 21, from the Houston Aeros. The 5’10” 180-pound center will play tonight in Los Angeles, as Minnesota looks for a victory in Jason Pominville’s Wild debut. Granlund, drafted 9th overall in 2010, made his NHL debut on January 19thand skated in 19 games with Minnesota, scoring one goal and five assists before being sent down to gain more ice time in Houston. In 29 games with the Aeros, he has scored 10 goals and 18 assists for 28 points. Granlund’s six points in 19 games doesn’t mean he’s a bust; Minnesota was just struggling to find their groove and he found himself the odd man out. Even with the success of Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker, Jonas Brodin and Darcy Kuemper, Granlund still has a higher ceiling than them all.
Mikael Granlund called up for #mnwild; Guess is he’ll play center & this will keep Coyle on wing; Heatley “out,” says Fletcher. No timeframe
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) April 4, 2013
With the addition of Pominville, and the subtraction of Matt Cullen and Dany Heatley due to injuries, Granlund will likely slot back into the second line center role he started in at the beginning of the season. With that said, and knowing Pominville will take the top line right wing spot, Minnesota Wild Head Coach will probably bump Coyle down to Bouchard’s spot on the second line and Bouchard down to Heater’s spot on the third—at least—that’s what I would do. Granlund and Bouchard play a very similar style of game and likely would be counterproductive to the other’s style. With both Coyle and Devin Setoguchi on his wings, Granlund has two great goal scorers to setup for a scoring chance.
If Bouchard isn’t just a product of Setoguchi and Cullen, he’ll be fine on the third line—where he originally started the season—and will maintain the scoring touch Heatley provides in his absence. So, if my assumptions are correct, we’ll be looking at four tough forward lines:
And to think the two forward scratches are veteran Cup-winning center Matt Cullen and two-time 50-goal scorer Dany Heatley—that’s a disgustingly good lineup.
In order for Granlund to succeed on the second line, Bouchard has to go and vice versa. Both players aren’t known to have real physical presences—just slick moves. A second line of goal scorers Setoguchi and Coyle with a savvy playmaking pivot in Granlund is downright nasty. The size and physicality of both Seto and Coyle will give Minnesota’s great hope the room to work his magic and, when Granlund has room, look out.