A deep analysis of Minnesota Wild youngster Mikael Granlund



With the March 5 trade deadline fast approaching, Fantasy GMs aplenty will have their work cut out for them, post-Sochi. So be sure to get ahead of the game. Identify which categories you need most help in now (whether it be a roto league or head-to-head format) and get a jump on the competition.


Don’t forget that while the Olympics are a wonderful tool for players to boost their value, others will also have theirs inflated – Especially when the games are held on the big ice surface. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, some mediocre players by North American standards have a skill set more suitable for the European format. See Olli Jokinen. This gem of a veteran has had modest fantasy value in the NHL since his Florida Panthers days, yet he continues to stifle opposition in European based competition. Rest assured that upon his return to Winnipeg, this bubble will burst. 


That being said, the same cannot be said about his much younger countryman, Mikael Granlund of the Minnesota Wild. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Sochi has been a platform to showcase this already blossoming talent in the NHL level. Mikael has long been a blue-chip prospect and shortly before departing for Russia, we had really begun to see him dazzle us with some impressive production over a nice sample size, including a spurt of eight points over five games.


Frozen Pool's Most Frequent Linemate Generator for the month of February

Games between 2014-01-02 and 2014-02-16



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As you can see below – Granlund has shown over his past month of NHL play that he has been able to average almost 0.75 PPG (Points Per Game) ; not exactly an insignificant sample size. That would translate into approximately 60 points over a full season. However, in the time he’s been linked up with Zach Parise (since end of January), earning more ice time, he’s been producing at an eve more elevated rate of about 0.85 PPG- now extrapolating to nearly a 70 pt pace.




Will he be able to sustain that? Absolutely. The Sochi tournament experience has something to do with that.


He’s now (while Mikko Koivu is out) being trusted to center franchise stud Zach Parise on the top line, as well as some PP time. Due to the absences of Valtteri Filppula and the Koivu brothers (and eventually Barkov), Granlund is seeing a tonne of responsibility at the international level too. The kid who always knew he was special, but had a tough time adapting to the North American game (spending a lot of time apprenticing in Houston last season) now sees he’s being depended on in a major way for both club and country. I will put down a stack of roulette chips wagering that his confidence is as high as it’s ever been now.


He played a large role in the undoing of the Russian ‘juggernaut’ hosts and is clearly well along in his development. I won’t drop the cliché ‘The sky is the limit’ for him….but, well… What the hell?! – The sky is the limit here folks!


The skillful Granlund; only 21-years-old (22 in a week), is just really beginning to hit his stride.


His five points in four games, alongside Teemu Selanne for Finland thus far in the 2014 Olympics has proven to be an extended run of good play, now three weeks plus in length (including NHL action earlier in the month). There’s been nothing really to indicate that this run of top form should be concluding any time soon either.


It should also be strongly noted that his TOI (Time on Ice/game) over the final week of before the break was over 21:30, despite his season average being 17:05. Accordingly, prior to February, his season average TOI was being given to him at a clip considerably under 17 minutes. The four added minutes per game was already a huge indicator of Mike Yeo and staff’s ever growing faith in Mikael. I expect him to stay at or around that clip the rest of the season.




Granted, things will change once Mikko Koivu returns to the lineup, sucking up some of Mikael’s minutes, and probably usurping him from the top line pivot role. Although his return is increasingly seeming to be not so imminent.


However, if Granlund’s hot phase of production keeps on keeping on upon return to Minny, why would Mr. Yeo be so inclined to mess with a good thing? One thing’s for sure though—The extra power play time as of late (2:40/game total, most recently), will surely, eventually revert back to the much more experienced Mikko.


Goals have been tough to come by though for Mikael, who has primarily been productive as a creative setup man. That being said, Mikael has made a point to fire more rubber on opposing goalmouths before heading to Sochi – In fact a rather shocking 27% of the shots he’s taken this season (20 of 74) have come in his PAST FIVE CONTESTS ALONE! I’m sure he’ll look to continue that trend upon return to the Wild—and shaking off the rigid Finnish open-ice shutdown style of play.


With only a five-point hold on the ninth place chasers in the Western Conference, its possible Craig Leipold will bring in some veteran depth for the playoff push; something than can only benefit Parise, Granlund & co.


Interestingly enough, according to Yahoo Sports, he’s only 7% owned across their leagues. If you’re in a single year/re-draft league, you can probably snag him. I highly advise it.

Recent Forensics:

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(Give Anthony Lancione a follow on Twitter @Anthisdaman)


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