Minnesota Wild prospect Tyler Graovac was selected at the Canadian Hockey League Awards ceremony as the FRAM Sportsman of the Year. Not surprising, considering he was named the OHL’s Most Sportsmanlike Player earlier this spring.
Minnesota’s 7th round selection at 191st overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft was traded from the Ottawa 67’s to the Belleville Bulls midway through this past season. He would go on to lead the Bulls in scoring with 38 goals and 35 assists for 73 points in 60 games. Furthermore, his 18 penalty minutes were the lowest amongst the top-20 scorers in the OHL.
“I’d just like to take the opportunity to thank the CHL, the Ottawa 67′s, and the Belleville Bulls for the opportunity to develop my game,” Graovac said as he accepted the award in Saskatoon on Friday. “This is a very prestigious award and I’m honored to receive it.”
Overall, it was a very successful season for Graovac, as he also represented the OHL in the Subway Super Series. The big 6’4” 203-pound pivot was signed by Minnesota to an entry-level contract on April 2nd, and joins fellow 7th rounder Erik Haula as an intriguing prospect that may have a shot at cracking the Wild lineup next season.
Graovac’s big frame is something Minnesota is missing down the middle. Kyle Brodziak and Mikko Koivu are both 6’2”, but don’t provide huge offensive numbers. Matt Cullen is 6’1” and only has a year or two left in his NHL career and Granlund, his likely replacement as second line center, is only 5’10”, but superbly talented. If Minnesota ever moves Brodziak, with Johan Larsson traded to Buffalo, Graovac provides a big body with some offensive upside that would make for an intimidating third line with hard-hitting Cal Clutterbuck and the speedy Torrey Mitchell.