Top 25 Minnesota Wild players 25-years-old or younger; No. 10 Tyler Graovac

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The Minnesota Wild found a late round steal in the 2011 draft when they selected Tyler Graovac. The big center has all the tools to play a variety of roles and situations.

Tyler Graovac is on the verge of securing a regular spot in the Minnesota Wild lineup. Last season, he earned the third-line center role out of training camp. However, it lasted only one game.

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The 23-year-old injured his groin in the season opening win over the Colorado Avalanche last year. Initially, he was expected to miss just a couple weeks. After the two weeks passed by, Graovac remained out. Eventually, he had surgery to reattach the right side of his groin and fix his lower abdomen a month after the game in Denver.

The 6-foot-5-inch, 212-pound Brampton, Ontario native did not return to the ice until December. After getting back on the ice, he had to rebuild his stamina for game action, including a rehab stint in Iowa. It took him awhile to get back to producing, so he only got one more game in the NHL the rest of the season.

Most groin and lower abdomen injuries occur from overworking those muscles. Graovac was no different. He pushed himself too hard in the offseason in order to make the team out of training camp. He made it, but aggravated the injury and it cost him almost the whole season.

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Now requiring waivers to be sent to Iowa, the center is a near lock to make the team again this season. This time, however, as the fourth line center.

Erik Haula’s emergence as an offensive player will allow Graovac to slot into a better lineup spot for his skills. Graovac has offensive skills, but playing a more physical role will better utilize his size.

Graovac’s offensive production has increased since being taken in the 2011 draft. When the Wild drafted him with 191st overall selection, he had 10 goals and 11 assists in 66 games in the OHL. His production took a jump to 38 goals and 35 assists in 60 games for two teams in the OHL two years later.

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He got his feet wet in his first professional with 25 points in 64 games, but exploded for 21 goals and 25 assists for Iowa in 2014-15. The Wild expected him to continue that momentum into last season until the injury sidetracked him.

Dobber Prospects notes some areas he needs to improve in order to become an NHL regular. Hockey’s Future likes him in a third or fourth line role with size and scoring ability.

Graovac should thrive on the fourth line. If he can win draws, he will be the center, if not, he should be fine on the wing.