Minnesota Wild: Granlund Looking To Take Next Step


The Minnesota Wild signed center, Mikael Granlund, to a two year, six million dollar deal this off-season with the potential he has shown throughout his career with the team.

In three seasons with the Wild, Granlund has produced 18 goals and 70 assists totaling 88 points. Although he is not known for his goal scoring, those numbers will need to increase this year given the role he has with the team. Playing along side Jason Pominville and Zach Parise, Granlund will need to put more pucks in the net while at least maintaining the 30 assists per season he has been producing. Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher touched on this when the signing was announced this off-season.

"“I don’t think anybody anticipates Granlund to be an eight-goal, 40-point guy for the rest of his career,” Fletcher said. “He is going to take off here over the next two years.”"

The pressure is now on for Granlund, who is still very young at 23 years old, to put up numbers that are adequate to being a first line center in the NHL, while also playing along side names like Parise and Pominville.

The play of Granlund on Monday night, looked as if he is on the right track.

Granlund was tremendous in scoring both a goal and recording an assist against the Sabres on Monday night, as he was responsible for the teams only two goals. Granlund also played tremendous on defense in being able to slow down the Sabres’ Jack Eichel at times.

Sep 21, 2015; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Mikael Granlund (64) shoots during the second period against the Buffalo Sabres at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

He also looked electrifying on the power play unit as well.

Although I understand that Granlund is under 25 years old, a big step is needed in order for him to keep this opportunity with the organization. Last season’s numbers were disappointing, and a huge year is needed in order to secure his future with the organization long term. He was given one of the better situations in the league last season being able to play with Parise and Pominville, which is something other players would kill for.

One thing I have noticed about his game is that Granlund needs to find open space more with his elusiveness, while putting the puck on net more as well. Granlund only shot the puck 99 times last year which needs to drastically increase this year.

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That number pales in comparison to Parise’s 259 shots, and Pominville’s 252. Even second line center,

Mikko Koivu

who is known for his defense, shot the puck 179 times last season.

Obviously, the shooting numbers need to go up in order for the goals to increase which Granlund will need to execute this season. He will need to take the next step this year in order for the Wild to have success and make another post season run.

It is expected and will be heavily scrutinized this season but one things for sure, Monday night’s game did look promising.

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