July 9, 2012; St. Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher speaks to the media during a press conference at the Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Wild Signs Forward Michael Keranen To One-Year Deal


The Minnesota Wild has come to terms with free agent Swedish forward Michael Keranen.

The club announced this afternoon that it has signed Keranen to a one-year two-way contract for the 2014-15 season. A 24-year old 6’1″ 176-pound forward, Keranen was a point-per-game player for Ilves of the Finnish SM-Liiga. In 52 regular season games, he scored 17 goals and 35 assists for 52 points and a plus-12 rating.

Here’s what EliteProspects.com has to say about the talented Swede:

Keränen is a skilled offensive minded forward. A fast and flashy dangler who likes to challenge the opponents. Able to set up his team mates with deft passes, but also to score by himself. Not a slouch defensively, but his talent goes to waste as a bottom six. A bit of a late bloomer. (EP 2014)

As this would suggest, it’s highly unlikely the signing is purely for depth purposes only. Either Wild GM Chuck Fletcher expects Keranen to make a significant impact as a top-6 forward with Minnesota, or a season-long tryout in Iowa is in the works leading up to the 2015-16 NHL season. In 195 career SM-Liiga games, the intriguing young forward has 41 goals and 60 assists for 101 points and a negative-24 rating.

The interesting thing is that Keranen is just the latest intriguing young forward to be snatched up by the Wild in free agency as he joins fellow center/right wing prospects Brady Brassart and Zack Mitchell who were inked straight out of Canadian major juniors. It’s too early to say anything for sure, but could Fletcher be stocking up on young forward talent with the idea in mind that the club’s top selection later this month is to be used to shore up depth in goal? It’s a fascinating story line to keep tabs on as the draft draws closer with each passing day. Either way, this has the makings of another savvy signing by Fletcher.

Tags: 2014 NHL Entry Draft Free Agency Michael Keranen Minnesota Wild NHL

  • Guest

    Wow….Dakota Chase. HORRIBLE reporting.

    1) Michael Keränen is FINNISH from FINLAND. How you could report goes beyond me. He even played most of Finland Euro Hockey League games in the national jersey before being left off the final Finland World Championship Team.

    2) He is not a FREE AGENT. He is under contract with Finnish HIFK which he signed this year. Though his Finnish contract had a clause that allow them to sign an NHL contract, which is now being used.

    3) + If he is NOT given a permanent role or included in the regular roster/line up on a daily basis after training camp, he is returned to HIFK for the year.

    You should ashamed of yourself.

  • Thomas Kiyoshi

    Wow….Dakota Case. HORRIBLE reporting.

    1) Michael Keränen is FINNISH from FINLAND. How you could report goes beyond me. He even played most of Finland Euro Hockey League games in the national jersey before being left off the final Finland World Championship Team.

    2) He is not a FREE AGENT. He is under contract with Finnish HIFK which he signed this year. Though his Finnish contract had a clause that allow them to sign an NHL contract, which is now being used.

    3) + If he is NOT given a permanent role or included in the regular roster/line up on a daily basis after training camp, he is returned to HIFK for the year.

    You should ashamed of yourself

    • Dakota Case

      You need a hobby, bud. ;)
      1. He may be Finnish, but he is a native of Stockholm, Sweden, which means–by birth–he’s Swedish.
      2. As far as the NHL is concerned, he’s an undrafted free agent signing.
      3. A two-way contract means he plays in either Minnesota or Iowa next season.
      Have a nice day!

      • Thomas Kiyoshi

        True, I call out bullshit and remind people to double check their facts before reporting them to the masses.

        1) Really hombre…? Take it by nationality, he is a national team player for Finland.
        2) There is a contract between NHL, Liiga and IIHF regarding international contracts, was not a free agent by any standards.
        3) Already reported earlier by GM Chuck and HIFK that he is returned to HIFK if he doesnt crack the opening roster after pre-games. Given his role in national team and IFK and last season in Ilves, he doesnt play bottom six forwards. So he wont be playing in Iowa next season.

        http://www.hifk.fi/uutiset/michael-keraeselle-sopimus-minnesota-wildiin

        • Dakota Case

          No, I mean a real hobby. ;)

          1. Don’t care.

          2. Any team in the NHL could have signed him. Call it what you want, but that can be considered free agency.

          3a. In English, please. I can’t speak or read Finnish and nothing has come out in English to suggest Fletcher said any such thing. All I have to go off of comes directly from the Wild’s website and official Twitter account.

          3b. According to the team’s website: “We are excited to get Michael under contract for next season,” Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher said. “He had a very good year in Finland and our scouting staff thinks he is ready for the challenge of coming to North America. We are happy to add him to our lists of prospects and look forward to seeing how he performs in training camp.”
          There’s no mention of returning to Finland if he doesn’t beat out Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Nino Niederreiter, Erik Haula and Jason Zucker for a top-6 roster spot. No one is saying he can’t play top-6, it just may have to be for Iowa in arguably the second-best hockey league in the world.

          • Mikael Uusi-Mäkelä

            Wow, such hate.

            I’d like to point out, though that if you happen to be born while your parents are abroad, it doesn’t make you a foreigner. Sure, some countries may give you their citizenship if you happen to be born there but in no way does that erase your real nationality.

            Also, I live in Tampere, Finland where Michael Keränen played this year, like every year through out his junior years, so I can assure you he’s Finnish and played for Finland in international games.

          • Dakota Case

            If you want hate, read his original comment. ;) I’m just backing my writing.
            There are plenty of people who hold dual citizenship. Jason Pominville was born in Quebec yet plays for Team USA. Florida’s Aleksander Barkov is able to play for both Finland and Russia. My point is, a case can be made that Keranen is Swedish, because he is by birth. I’m not trying to deny he’s Finnish, but he’s also Swedish. And if that’s the only legitimate problem with the article above, I think I can sleep at night.
            Cheers!

        • Dakota Case

          Read this, then chew them out, okay? http://wild.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=721870&navid=DL|MIN|home

      • Veli Ähtänyt

        1) One does not get a Swedish passport just by being born there. Swedish citizenship laws are primarily based on the principle of jus sanguinis, the right of blood, meaning either, or both, of the parents needs to be Swedish for the children to be Swedish.

        2) Keranen was under contract to Finnish club HIFK, so technically we wasn’t a free agent, although there usually are specific clauses in players contracts allowing them to move to better leagues (=NHL/KHL).

        3) …or he’s just loaned by Wild to HIFK for another season, if he doesn’t make it to the limelights in North America.

        • Dakota Case

          Some good points for sure, but correct me if I’m wrong, wasn’t Johnny Oduya’s father Kenyan? Yet he plays for Sweden. Also, Keranen wasn’t a free agent as far as the SM-Liiga is concerned, but as far as the NHL is concerned, he was considered a free agent. My point is, if people really want to contest that point, there is a very long list of people in the know for them to chew out ahead of me.
          I still think he spends some time in Iowa, but I will be happy to admit I am wrong if the club sends him back to Finland out of training camp. The whole point of a two-way contract, however, is to have him instantly available just a couple hours down the road in case of a call-up. I still find it hard to believe Fletcher says “you’re playing top-6 minutes in the best league in the world or bust” to a guy that hasn’t played a single second of North American hockey.