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Top 25 Under 25 #10: Tyler Graovac

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We continue our Top 25 Under 25 today with #10: Centerman Tyler Graovac

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

It's pretty well established by this point that the Wild's draft strategy is to use later round picks to their advantage. There is some intelligence to this, as most research has shown that a pick in the 8th round is about equal to a pick in the 3rd round in terms of likelihood of becoming an NHL regular. One such pickup was 7th-rounder (191st overall) pick Tyler Graovac.

Graovac is a 6'5" 200-pound energetic center. He was the Iowa Wild's leading point-getter last season, and earned himself a callup to the big league where he represented himself well, though he couldn't stick. The left-shooting forward led the Iowa team with 21 goals, and was only out-assisted by Michael Keranen (who had 2 more A's on the season).

Though I and many others liked what we saw from Graovac in the NHL last season, his 3 games didn't necessarily go as planned. He didn't score a goal or assist, and his possession numbers were a paltry 41% Shot-Attempts For (Corsi). He was a -10% relative to the rest of the team, which is abysmal at best (stats from www.war-on-ice.com).

There are two important caveats to those numbers. Firstly, he played in only three games for a total of 27 minutes at 5v5. That's hardly enough to draw any conclusions from. Secondly, 92% of his time was spent with Matt Cooke on his wing, who was so bad that he was bought out and released after getting healthy (those stats from www.behindthenet.ca)

Tyler's biggest knock is his mobility. That isn't surprising considering his size and the fact that he will likely be playing a third-line or bottom-six role; a bigger defensive player with some offensive upside rather than a high-flying scorer. There are a lot of things to love about Graovac, especially considering he is still just 22 years old and has plenty of room to improve.

Graovac goes into this season hoping to find a place in the NHL, but honestly he might be better served by being a leader in the AHL. He will get more playing time and be a key player as opposed to a rotating bottom-line player in the NHL. That will give him more playing time and help the AHL club climb (hopefully) out of the cellar it has occupied since moving from Houston. Still, there's a lot to love about Tyler Graovac, and if he continues improving he can be a good player for the Wild.