Minnesota Wild’s Mikael Granlund Close to Return


Nov 3, 2013; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Mikael Granlund (64) looks on during the second period against the New Jersey Devils at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild announced today that forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard–er–Mikael Granlund has resumed practicing with the team.

The second-year center hasn’t played a game since November 29th against the Phoenix Coyotes, a game he would play just one shift and less than 30 seconds before being knocked out of the game with a concussion. However, he has been skating and working out on his own for the past week, and appears to be close to making a return. That isn’t likely to happen in time for tomorrow’s bout with the Vancouver Canucks, but it could be a big possibility any time after that. One thing is for sure, it appeared today’s practice went surprisingly well for him.

“It felt good,” Granlund said. “You really like to be there on the ice and be able to skate and play. That’s what every player wants.

“This is my first skate with the team now. That’s a start. We just have to keep building.”

Minnesota has struggled without Granlund, going 5-6-1 and scoring at a miniscule 1.5 goals-per-game average with their 2010 9th overall selection sitting on the shelf. There’s no question the talented youngster is itching to get back in the lineup and help his team win. He just might not be ready yet.

“You like to be there and help your team, but that’s how it goes sometimes,” Granlund said. “Injuries are part of this game and you just need to go through those.”

However, Wild head coach Mike Yeo is encouraged by what he’s seeing from one of the league’s rising young stars.

“There’s no question,” Yeo said of what it means to have Granlund back at practice. “And he looks good too. He has been on the ice so it’s not like he hasn’t been skating… this is a very big first step.”

In 24 games with Minnesota this season, Granlund has scored two goals and 10 assists for 12 points and a plus-4 rating.