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Exit Interviews: Mikael Granlund

The offseason means the end of Wild games, but for the players, the work is never done. With Exit Interviews, Hockey Wilderness takes each player and reviews their season, highlighting what we liked seeing from them over the year, and pointing out what can be improved to take the next step next year.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Hi, Micha... err... Mikael. Granlund? Grawnlund? Does anyone really care anymore? Grab a seat.

What an up-and-down season; after such a great postseason last year, hopes were high that you had arrived... and that didn't quite happen. By phases, it seemed like you were great and awful. 33 Even Strength points isn't going to cut it from a future first line center; it's just not good enough. You made an acceptable number of assists at even strength (24), but we need more than 9 goals on the season. Yes, it's true that you played OK on the powerplay, grabbing an extra 11 assists and one goal, but 45 total points and only 10 of those being goals isn't good enough. Overall, it's probably good that you are likely to sign a bridge contract, it'll give you a chance to turn things around, and we don't really want a 3rd or 2nd-line center making the big bucks for very long; we just don't have the cap space.

Expectations for Next Year

Goals. Goals, dude. Goals. Your shot-attempts (Corsi) differential was a respectable 52%, and you were a positive possession player relative to the rest of the team, which is GREAT! But there are concerns. You range from attempting and completing passes that no one else sees or tries, to failing to find Parise wide open with no goalie in net. We're still hoping you can be our top-line center, and you've shown that you can do it, we just need to see it get consistent. Prove that we got the right Granlund... please!

Offseason Homework

1. Shoot 5,000 times per day. Your shot is accurate, it's true, but the release is so slow even Lou in New Jersey can see it coming. What's more, it never has much zip on it. Shot placement is important, but in the NHL, you need some oomph on your shot. In addition to this, make sure you're doing plyometrics to strengthen your shooting muscles- take a sojourn over to Switzerland and have Nino show you a thing or two.

2. Keep your head up and choose your battles. Get some time in the video room and evaluate your positional play and whether or not you need to take some of the hits you do; you haven't shown yourself to be "injury prone," exactly, but you're not exactly built-Ford-tough either. If you're going to be our guy, we need you on the ice, and being aware of what's going on in terms of physical play is a biggie.

3. Have we said the shot thing yet? Kidding... while you're watching tape, evaluate whether you made the right choice in different situations; sometimes you're deferring your shot (understandably) but with an improved release (which you'll have, right?) you should shoot more often. Also, be aware of the ability to create a rebound for someone like Zach or Jason or... Jason. Yeah, we mean both Jason P and Jason Z. You have great vision, and unreal passing ability, sometimes. We just want you to keep growing and become the first line center we believe you are.