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Mikael Granlund: Meet the Wild draft choice

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So, can we just say "Nailed It!"? Damn, it feels good to be right. As stated in the SBN Mock Draft a week ago, the Minnesota Wild selected Mikael Granlund of HIFK of Finland.

What does Mikael Granlund say about himself? "I think I'm a playmaker," he said when asked to describe his skills. "I try to make plays for my linemates and make my linemates better. I think that's my game. I try to play hard and be competitive, try to just help my team as much as possible.

From Buddha: It's good to be right. Plain and simple, it's good to be right. Granlund is going to be an excellent selection, mark my words. Brent Flahr mentioned at the draft tonight that he wants Granlund in camp. Given the level of the other centers in camp, you never know. He shows the right skill set, maybe he makes the squad. It's unlikely, and I would prefer to see him get some time in the AHL and some top PP time before making the jump, but if he's good enough, bring him in. The top rated European skater, the Wild got an absolute steal with Granlund. A play maker in the ilk of the Koivus, Granlund now has the chance to learn form Mikko and to become a true NHL star. Great pick, Fletch.

What are other people saying:

"Mikael is a highly skilled forward with elite hockey sense and competitiveness. He has had a lot of success playing against men in the Finnish Elite League." - Brent Flahr

Compared to Saku Koivu, dynamic with puck, this kid is a terrific hockey player. Mikael Granlund has one more year left with Helsinki, considered very close to NHL-ready. I like this kid, this is one player I thought they should take, but I'm still shocked it appears they took "need," although near NHL ready - Michael Russo

Granlund was excited talking about Minnesota, with the Koivu connection and the Wild's scheduled visit to Finland in October to open the regular season against Carolina.

"I know it's a hockey place. Hockey is a big thing there," Granlund said in a phone interview from Los Angeles, where the draft was held. "The Koivus are very popular. Of course, they're great players."

Granlund said he plans to play in Finland at least one more year. Center is certainly a position the Wild could use help at, behind their captain and best all-around player.

"After next season, we'll see," Granlund said. - Dave Campbell USA Today

As a reminder:

The #1 European prospect, as identified by the Central Scouting Bureau, Granlund is a polished 2-way forward, who can play either center or wing. In the 2009-2010 season, he represented Suomi in both the U18 and U20 WJC. During the season, Granlund played for HIFK of the SM Liiga in his native Finland. Yes, he was 17 years old playing in a league with men, yet averaged nearly a point-per-game in his first season in Finland's top league, leading all rookies with 40 points (13-27--40) in 43 games playing for HIFK -- a program that has produced several NHL stars: Olli Jokinen, Sami Kapanen, Kimmo Timonen as well as the Tuomo and Jarkko Ruutu.

 "Saku Koivu clone. He's small, but no one's told him he's small. He has a really good, winning attitude, works very hard. He's tough, and he has very good hockey sense." - Goran Stubb, NHL Director of European Scouting

"There's no doubt he has the same intangibles as Koivu. He defies the odds every time. You go to watch him play you want to not like him, but then he's one of the best players in the game."  - Unnamed scout from The Hockey News Draft Preview 2010

For those of you who would like to see Granlund in action: