Mikael Granlund
Mikael Granlund
26-Year-Old CenterC
Minnesota Wild
2018 Fantasy Outlook
The 26-year-old put together another strong performance at the heart of the Wild offense in 2017-18, topping 20 goals and 60 points for the second straight season and just missing his second straight campaign with 20 power-play points. He clicked in impressive fashion alongside Jason Zucker and Eric Staal, with his linemates combining for 75 goals thanks to plenty of soft passes on the tape from Granlund, although the Finn is starting to gain more confidence in his own ability to light the lamp as well -- his 193 shots on goal were a career high. Coach Bruce Boudreau's system has allowed Granlund's game, built around his speed and hockey IQ, to blossom, and while his last two seasons have been good he might still be capable of better. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a three-year, $17.25 million contract extension with the Wild in August of 2017.
Stays hot in loss to Devils
CMinnesota Wild
February 16, 2019
Granlund scored a goal and added an assist on the power play in Friday's 5-4 overtime loss to the Devils.
His 14th tally of the season gave the Wild a seemingly comfortable 4-1 lead midway through the second period, but the wheels came off for the team after that. Granlund now has two goals and nine points in the last nine games, and he's on pace for his third straight season with at least 20 goals and 65 points.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
After four seasons, Granlund finally lived up to his billing as a top-10 pick, blowing way past his old career bests with 26 goals and 69 points in 81 games. Drafted as a center and deployed down the middle up until this past season, he was moved the wing by Wild coach Bruce Boudreau in 2016-17, and that opened up Granlund’s offensive game; now, the 25-year-old comes with sky-high expectations for this coming season. Minnesota’s historically emphasized two-way play, which has helped Granlund become an all-around player, but there’s been more of an emphasis on offense since Boudreau took over. Playing on the first line with veteran distributor and fellow countryman Mikko Koivu has allowed Granlund to focus more on scoring, but Koivu is aging and has never been a point-per-game player, which may limit Granlund from joining the ranks of the league’s elite producers even though he possesses the talent to do so.
The No. 9 pick in the 2010 draft, Granlund’s now three-plus seasons into his NHL career, and we’re still waiting for him to bring his Finnish-league and AHL scoring pedigree to bear at hockey’s highest level. He did play all 82 games while setting new career marks with 13 goals and 44 points last season, but that’s still quite modest production, especially when his minus-12 rating gets factored in. As he enters his age-24 campaign, Granlund is in some ways at a make-or-break moment in his career – he has to settle in at either center or wing, and that’s happening against the backdrop of impending free agency after this season. It seems like the direction he’s heading in is left wing, judging by the offseason addition of pivot Eric Staal as well as GM Chuck Fletcher’s offseason comments, in which case the Finn’s likely to find a home on the second line alongside Staal and Nino Niederreiter. That could be a productive grouping, but there are a lot of variables involved, so Granlund’s high-end upside makes him worth drafting if it doesn’t cost you much.
While his scoring may have ticked down slightly last season, Granlund is rounding into form as one of the best young players on the Wild. Granlund followed up a 41-point 2013-14 campaign with eight goals and 31 assists, but may have delivered more overall fantasy value this past season after his plus/minus rating rose from minus-3 to plus-17. The 23-year-old Finn should once again pivot the team’s first or second line, and with the Wild boasting solid wing depth, opportunities for assists should remain plentiful. It might be hard for Granlund to notice much further growth as a goal scorer, as he shot less than 1.5 times per game, preferring to set up quality looks for others. Moreover, despite seeing frequent power-play time, Granlund didn’t pick up a single goal with the man advantage last season. Downgrade him in leagues that value more diverse scoring skills, as Granlund isn't expected to look for his own shot very often with several quality options around him.
It didn't just seem like Granlund got better with every game last season -- he actually did. He delivered an impressive 21 points in his last 25 games, which makes it hard to believe he wasn't guaranteed to make the roster at the start of last season. He's now the Wild's No. 2 center on the back of his solid season, which included an Olympic nod with the bronze-winning Finnish team and fantastic showing in the playoffs. He’s slated to skate with some combination of Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, Zach Parise, Nino Niederreiter and/or Charlie Coyle on the wing this season, which is about as fruitful as it gets for fantasy purposes. Granlund is a puck distributor who is going to helm the second-unit power play, if not climb his way into the top unit. He posted eight goals and 33 assists overall last season and there's every reason to believe he'll top the 50-point mark in 2014-15.
As a superstar in the Finnish Elite League and as the ninth overall pick in the 2010 draft, Granlund entered last season as a favorite for rookie-of-the-year honors. However, his first season playing in North America didn't go as planned as he had just six points in his first 19 games and was sent to the AHL. He returned in April to play six games, but the Wild gave him a smaller role after he was centering a top-three line at the start of the year. Granlund didn't adjust well to the size and physical nature of the NHL and struggled with bad penalties and defensive lapses. He did score 28 points in 29 games in the AHL, so he showed he can produce outside of Sweden. However, he'll need to earn his role with the Wild and he could begin the season in the AHL. At age 21, it's still early enough in his career that he may figure out the NHL game and fulfill last year's hype.
The ninth overall pick in the 2010 draft, Granlund has played the the last three seasons in Finland and was a superstar in the Finnish Elite League. As a 19-year old he let the league in scoring for a second consecutive season. The Wild will put him on the second line to begin his NHL career, which could make him an early favorite for the Calder Memorial Trophy (for rookie of the year). He has great speed, puck handling skills and a knack for putting the puck in the net, but his size (5-10, 180 pounds) could be more of an issue in the NHL.
The Wild made Granlund a first-round selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, snagging him with the ninth overall pick. Speed, playmaking ability and hockey smarts have all contributed to Granlund's billing as a top prospect, though naysayers are quick to point out his small size of 5-foot-8, 169 pounds. The Finn also dealt with a concussion, which wiped out roughly half of his 2010-11 campaign with HIFK Helsinki of the SM-liiga league. However, Granlund has managed 76 points (21 G, 55 A) in 82 games over the past two seasons overseas, and while it's not clear when he will make his NHL debut, opportunists should consider stashing him on keeper rosters in 2011-12.
The ninth overall pick in the 2010 draft, Granlund is the real deal. He played in Finland’s top league and averaged a point per game. More impressive: he was only 17 years old.
More Fantasy News
Finds goal column in loss
CMinnesota Wild
February 10, 2019
Granlund scored his team's only goal in Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Islanders.
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Sets up two power-play goals
CMinnesota Wild
January 24, 2019
Granlund earned two power-play assists in Wednesday's 5-2 win over the Avalanche.
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Suffering brutal slump
CMinnesota Wild
January 22, 2019
Granlund failed to record a point in Monday's win over the Golden Knights.
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Gifted game-winner against Habs
CMinnesota Wild
January 7, 2019
Granlund scored his 12th goal of the season in Monday's 1-0 win over the Canadiens.
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Racking up assists in December
CMinnesota Wild
December 24, 2018
Granlund had an assist in a 2-1 loss to the Stars on Saturday, giving him 10 assists in his last 10 games.
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