Through 16 games in the 2018-19 Minnesota Wild season, Mikael Granlund is producing at an electric pace. With more than a point per game pace, I think it’s time to classify him as a superstar.
This season isn’t the first we have seen of Mikael Granlund taking a leadership role among the scorers on the Minnesota Wild, but it is the best he has ever looked. He has 17 points through 16 games, and had a 10-game point streak to end October.
His 17 points and his 9 goals are both team leading, and his 25% shooting percentage is top-ten in the league currently. Obviously, 25% is extremely high, and unlikely to be sustained over the course of the season. It is a good start, though.
Over the last two seasons, Granlund has been one of the top two scorers on the Minnesota Wild in both years. He has alternated the top spot with Eric Staal, but overall has produced 136 points through those two years.
Since the beginning of 2016, including the start of this season, Mikael Granlund is ranked 25th among top scorers in the NHL. Coincidentally, he is tied with Staal at 153 points each through those 2+ seasons.
Granlund is a well-rounded player, who can snipe home goals like he did in Edmonton, or he can setup behind the net like Wayne Gretzky once did to find a streaking line-mate for goals just as nice to watch.
The Minnesota Wild are set for the foreseeable future, with Mikael Granlund carrying the team’s offense. Granlund doesn’t demand to be the go-to player, he doesn’t need to be a captain or even an assistant to lead by example.
When all else on the Minnesota Wild is failing, Granlund has been a constant point producer. In the 6 consecutive playoff appearances, Granlund has 21 points in 39 games played. Only once has finished a playoff series with less than 2 points, and that was the only series in which Minnesota was swept.
Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are making the big money and wearing the ‘A’ on their jerseys, Mikko Koivu is the team captain, but Mikael Granlund should not be overlooked. In fact, he should start to be getting recognition around the league for his contributions.
A common theme through the 2018 NHL off-season was the need of the Minnesota Wild to add a bonafide superstar. Rumors surrounded Erik Karlsson through the summer, and have now shifted to the contract of restricted free agent William Nylander.
I recently discussed why Nylander would be a bad addition to team chemistry, but Mikael Granlund has proven to be the type of star player that works well in a team environment like the Minnesota Wild have.
With Eric Staal’s contract status uncertain beyond this season, and Mikko Koivu only signed beyond next year, Granlund is firmly establishing himself as the player who could lead this team into the next youth movement should Staal and Koivu be allowed to move on in their careers.
He’s no Connor McDavid, Alex Ovechkin, or Sidney Crosby, but his numbers are at least showing a level of consistency through a three year trend. Comparably, he has been trending along a level extremely close to the numbers of players such as Leon Draisaitl, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Brent Burns.
With players like Kirill Kaprizov, Connor Dewar, and Mason Shaw excelling in their respective leagues this season, and unsung players like Cal O’Reilly and Justin Kloos having strong years as well, the future is bright. A veteran like Granlund is the perfect player to ask to lead the young players into a new era of Minnesota Wild hockey.
Mikael Granlund has recently been earning the name ‘Superman’ around the State of Hockey. Perhaps he needs to start being treated and respected like a Superman around the league, and get the attention of the media sources who continue to overlook Minnesota hockey despite holding one of the best team records in hockey over the past two seasons.
Eric Staal has identical point output over a two-year period, but Staal gets all of the attention while nobody is talking about Granlund. Now into year three of being a top winning franchise, with Mikael Granlund producing at an exciting pace, its time to start treating him as the Marian Gaborik for the current Wild era.