Minnesota Wild: Is Mikael Granlund the only option for NHL All-Star Game?
When you look at the recent form of the Minnesota Wild and especially the form of individual players, it’s reasonable to say that Mikael Granlund is one of very few deserving to be in NHL All-Star Game discussions.
Mikael Granlund is a near point per game performer for the Minnesota Wild thus far this year and is the closest to being labelled a superstar for Minnesota; that in itself should stand him in good stead to represent the Central Division at the annual NHL All-Star Game.
Looking at the other candidates; it’s fair to say that you’d maybe give a chance to Ryan Suter, Zach Parise or Matt Dumba prior to his injury. Nobody else on the roster truly deserves a lock-in.
Even if you were to select one of those guys, you’d still be questioning, at least somewhat, whether you’d picked that player on this season’s form or purely because the NHL All-Star Game has expectations of at least one player per team.
With 11 goals and 23 assists this year, Mikael Granlund’s 34 points in 35 games for the Minnesota Wild certainly stands out above the rest of the crowd. Not only that, his skill both stick-handling and passing the puck shouldn’t be overlooked.
He leads the Minnesota Wild (tied with Jason Zucker and Eric Staal) in game-winning goals (3) and not only has he put up 11 power-play points, but he’s also notched a team-leading 2 short-handed goals.
Mikael Granlund is also no stranger to be named on all-star squads; making the Olympic All-Star team in 2014 for his performance with Team Finland. It’s fair to say that he could hold equally elite company if named to the Central Division team for the NHL All-Star Game.
If not for the equality that the NHL forces upon the rosters for the event, we might not be seeing a Minnesota Wild star at all; it’s likely that Nathan MacKinnon being named as captain of the division means one of his Colorado Avalanche teammates may miss out, likewise the Winnipeg Jets are unlikely to see all of their biggest names attending.
It’s fair to say though, no Minnesota Wild player has pressed their claims (except maybe the now-injured Matt Dumba) more as a viable candidate to play in the NHL All-Star Game than Mikael Granlund.
Obviously, now the fan voting for team captains is over, we sit back and wait. I’ll be very much intrigued to see the final roster and whether or not Mikael Granlund makes the cut to represent the Minnesota Wild!