3ITB’s Top 33 Wild Players of All Time – #23

Minnesota Wild center Mikael Granlund, right, shoots a wrist shot over the outstretched arms of Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson and past goalie Semyon Varlamov to beat the Avs, 1-0 in overtime, in Game 3 of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Monday, April 21, 2014. (Pioneer Press: Ben Garvin)

23. Mikael Granlund – C

4 Seasons,  240 Games,  31 Goals,  101 Assists,  132 Points

Mikael Granlund was the Wild’s first pick, 9th overall, in the 2010 Draft.  He established himself as a top player in the Finnish League, earning Rookie of the Year and the Finnish version of the Lady Byng Trophy. In international play, he helped team Finland win Bronze at the 2010 U18 Championship, and Gold for the big team at the 2011 IIHF World Championship (the tournament where he scored the phenomenal LaCrosse-style goal against Russia).

Granlund made his Wild debut in the lockout-shortened 2013 season. Despite his pedigree as a playmaker in the Finnish League, many fans were convinced, possibly by his performance in the 2011 Worlds, that he was a goal scorer. This led many to believe that he was a bust, as he struggled in his first season. Over the next three seasons he would consistently show his playmaking ability, with spurts of goal scoring, averaging over 30 assists per season. Only Koivu, Suter, Parise and Pominville can boast more points per game than Granlund over that same stretch.

While he’ll likely never become the next Teemu Selane, he’s proven to be a capable playmaker, who can score in clutch situations (like his overtime winner in 2014 against the Avs).

Previously on our list:

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