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Mikael Antero Granlund (born 26 February 1992) is a Finnish professional ice hockey centre currently playing for the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League (NHL). He previously played professionally in Finland with Oulun Kärpät and HIFK of the SM-liiga. He was selected by the Minnesota Wild as the ninth overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He is the older brother of Markus Granlund, currently of the NHL's Vancouver Canucks.

Mikael Granlund
Mikaelgranlund.jpg
Born (1992-02-26) 26 February 1992 (age 27)
Oulu, Finland
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 184 lb (83 kg; 13 st 2 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shoots Left
NHL team
Former teams
Nashville Predators
Oulun Kärpät
Helsingin IFK
Minnesota Wild
National team  Finland
NHL Draft 9th overall, 2010
Minnesota Wild
Playing career 2008–present

Contents

Playing careerEdit

 
Granlund in the first game of the 2009–10 SM-liiga season.

Early careerEdit

Granlund played junior ice hockey with Oulun Kärpät in 2007–08 and 2008–09, averaging greater than a point per game in both seasons,[1] and was named a first-team All-Star by his junior A league in 2009.[2] He gained his first professional experience late that season, making his debut with Kärpät's team in the SM-liiga on his 17th birthday.[3] He played only two games before he became embroiled in a contract dispute with the team. Granlund and his agent alleged the four-year junior contract he signed with Kärpät in 2007 was invalid because it failed to define what compensation he would get from the team, and that the team had altered the end date on his SM-liiga insurance application from April 2009 to April 2011 without his approval. The team admitted mistakes were made, but that they were made in good faith as both the team and player wished to get him in their top team immediately.[4]

Arguing his contracts to be void, and considering himself to be a free agent, Granlund signed a contract with HIFK Helsinki for the 2009–10 season; Kärpät challenged his attempts to transfer to HIFK.[5] Granlund sued his old team in July 2009 after Kärpät failed to relent, asking a court to cancel his contracts with them and clear the way for him to play with HIFK.[4] The two sides reached a settlement a month later, allowing Granlund to transfer to his new team.[6] He scored 13 goals and 27 assists in 43 games with HIFK in 2009–10,[7] and led all rookies in scoring with 40 points.[8] He was named the winner of the Jarmo Wasama memorial trophy as the SM-liiga's top rookie, and with only two penalty minutes in the entire season, he also won the Raimo Kilpiö trophy as the league's most gentlemanly player.[9] Additionally, Granlund was voted Finland's young Athlete of the Year for 2009.[10]

Granlund has played with the Finnish national junior team at both the Under-18 and Under-20 World Championships in 2009 and 2010. At the 2010 U18 Championship, Granlund led the tournament in assists with 9, while his 13 total points were third-best as he helped Finland win its second consecutive bronze medal.[8] At the 2010 World Junior Championship, he was Finland's top scorer with seven points as the team finished fifth overall.[11]

Among skaters, Granlund was considered the top European prospect for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau.[12] While scouts have noted his small size at five feet, ten inches, they were impressed with his vision on the ice. Granlund was ultimately selected ninth overall in the Draft by the Minnesota Wild.[1]

As Granlund's contract ran through the 2010–11 season, he returned to HIFK for one more season. Suffering a concussion in mid-October, Granlund was sidelined for over two months, missing the 2011 World Junior Championship as a result. Acting primarily as a playmaker, Granlund was a key player in helping HIFK win the SM-liiga title. Granlund was second in playoff scoring (5–11–16) behind teammate Juha-Pekka Haataja (8–8–16).[13]

 
Granlund celebrating Finland's gold in the Hockey World Championship in Helsinki in 2011

Following the 2010–11 SM-liiga season, Granlund made his debut with the senior Finnish national team for the 2011 IIHF World Championship. Using the "Mike Legg Michigan style scoop" in a full-speed variation, Granlund scored a lacrosse style highlight reel goal in the semifinal game against Russia, helping Finland win gold. [14][15][16][17][18][19]

In May 2011, Dinamo Minsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) publicly claimed his playing rights because it drafted him one year before his selection by the NHL's Minnesota Wild.[20] However, because of Finland's mandatory military service requirements, Granlund remained with HIFK through the 2011–12 season. Granlund himself has stated he was not interested in playing in the KHL[21] but planned to play in the NHL.

Minnesota WildEdit

Granlund signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Minnesota Wild during the 2012 NHL off-season.[22] With the NHL lockout postponing the 2012–13 season, Granlund was assigned to the Wild's American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Houston Aeros, to begin the 2012–13 campaign.[23] After the lockout ended, Granlund was recalled from Houston and made the Wild's opening night roster. In the first game of the Wild's season, he made his NHL debut and scored his first NHL goal, against Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche on 19 January 2013.[24]

Granlund's play improved during his sophomore year, scoring 8 goals and 33 assists. Midway through the season, Granlund was moved to Minnesota's top line where he was frequently paired with Jason Pominville and Zach Parise. On 21 April 2014, Granlund scored a goal in overtime to lead the Wild to a playoff victory over Colorado.[25]

In the 2014–15 season, Granlund again played on Minnesota's top line alongside Pominville and Parise, where he recorded 8 goals and 31 assists.

The 2015–16 season saw Granlund centre the Wild's second line with a variety of wingers due to Minnesota's struggle with injuries and line-shuffling. Near the end of the season, interim head coach John Torchetti placed him on the first line wing with fellow Finn Mikko Koivu, leading to a sudden uptick in points production, something Torchetti attributed to being released from the defensive duties often placed on centremen. He played well in the Wild's short playoff run, with Torchetti calling him the Wild's "best competitor".[26]

On August 1, 2017, the Wild re-signed Granlund to a three-year, $17.25 million contract with an annual average of $5.75 million, thereby avoiding salary arbitration.[27]

Nashville PredatorsEdit

During the 2018–19 season, having registered 49 points through 63 games, Granlund was traded by the Wild at the trade deadline to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Kevin Fiala on February 25, 2019.[28]

In popular cultureEdit

After Granlund's "lacrosse-style" goal at the 2011 IIHF World Championship semifinal against Russia, Finnish Hockey Mafia released the single "Taivas varjele!" featuring sampled comments by Finnish sports broadcaster Antero Mertaranta. The single released the same week of the much-talked about goal reached #2 in the Finnish Singles Chart[29] as well as topping the chart for most Finnish Singles downloads that week.

Career statisticsEdit

Regular season and playoffsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2007–08 Kärpät Fin-Jr B 31 22 27 49 20 5 3 5 8 0
2008–09 Kärpät Fin-Jr A 35 21 36 57 45
2008–09 Kärpät SM-l 2 0 0 0 0
2009–10 HIFK SM-l 43 13 27 40 2 6 1 5 6 0
2010–11 HIFK SM-l 39 8 28 36 14 15 5 11 16 4
2011–12 HIFK SM-l 45 20 31 51 18 2 0 1 1 0
2012–13 Houston Aeros AHL 29 10 18 28 8 5 1 1 2 4
2012–13 Minnesota Wild NHL 27 2 6 8 6
2013–14 Minnesota Wild NHL 63 8 33 41 22 13 4 3 7 2
2014–15 Minnesota Wild NHL 68 8 31 39 20 10 2 4 6 0
2015–16 Minnesota Wild NHL 82 13 31 44 20 6 1 2 3 0
2016–17 Minnesota Wild NHL 81 26 43 69 12 5 0 2 2 2
2017–18 Minnesota Wild NHL 77 21 46 67 18 5 1 2 3 0
2018–19 Minnesota Wild NHL 63 15 34 49 20
2018–19 Nashville Predators NHL 16 1 4 5 4 6 1 1 2 2
Liiga totals 129 41 86 127 34 23 6 17 23 4
NHL totals 477 94 228 322 122 45 9 14 23 6
 
Granlund at the 2010 World Junior Championships
Medal record
Representing   Finland
Winter Olympics
  2014 Sochi
World Championships
  2011 Slovakia
  2016 Russia
IIHF World U18 Championships
  2009 United States
  2010 Belarus

InternationalEdit

Year Team Event Result   GP G A Pts PIM
2009 Finland WJC18   6 2 11 13 0
2009 Finland WJC 7th 6 2 1 3 0
2010 Finland WJC18   6 4 9 13 4
2010 Finland WJC 5th 6 1 6 7 4
2011 Finland WC   9 2 7 9 2
2012 Finland WJC 4th 7 2 9 11 0
2012 Finland WC 4th 10 1 4 5 0
2013 Finland WC 4th 4 1 2 3 0
2014 Finland OG   6 3 4 7 4
2016 Finland WC   10 4 8 12 2
2016 Finland WCH 8th 3 0 0 0 0
Junior totals 31 11 36 47 8
Senior totals 42 11 25 36 8

Awards and honoursEdit

Award Year
Liiga
Jarmo Wasama memorial trophy 2009–10 [9]
Raimo Kilpiö trophy 2009–10 [9]
Kanada-malja 2010–11 [9]
Finnish Ice Hockey Player of the Year 2011
International
WJC First Team All-Star 2012 [9]
Olympic All-Star Team 2014 [30]
WC All-Star Team 2016 [31]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Adams, Alan (June 2010). "Top prospects gun for no. 1". The Hockey News: 25. ISSN 0018-3016.
  2. ^ "A-nuorten SM-liigan palkitut" (in Finnish). Finnish Ice Hockey Association. 4 March 2009. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  3. ^ "Kärppien Mikael Granlund, 17, debytoi tänään" (in Finnish). SM-liiga. 26 February 2009. Archived from the original on 29 May 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  4. ^ a b Pakarinen, Risto (12 July 2009). "Granlund sues old team". International Ice Hockey Federation. Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  5. ^ "Kärpät ei hyväksy Granlundin siirtoa" (in Finnish). jatkoaika.com. 9 March 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
  6. ^ Partanen, Joonas (26 August 2009). "Näkökulma". Iltalehti. Kustannusosakeyhtiö Iltalehti: 10. ISSN 0783-0025.
  7. ^ "Mikael Granlund player card". The Hockey News. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  8. ^ a b "Mikael Granlund Draft Card". National Hockey League. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  9. ^ a b c d e "SM-liigan kausipalkinnot jaettiin Liigagaalassa" (in Finnish). SM-liiga. 29 May 2010. Archived from the original on 2 June 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
  10. ^ "Kulta-Aikku ylivoimaisesti Vuoden urheilijaksi" (in Finnish). MTV3. 11 January 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
  11. ^ "Finland player scoring at the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championship" (PDF). International Ice Hockey Federation. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  12. ^ "International Skaters Final Rankings" (PDF). NHL Central Scouting Bureau. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  13. ^ "Pistepörssi 2010-11" (in Finnish). SM-liiga. Archived from the original on 17 May 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  14. ^ "Eishockey WM 2011 - Mikael Granlund Tor - Finnland vs. Russland 1:0" (in German). youTube. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
  15. ^ "Finnland folgt Schweden ins Finale, Austria" (in German). orf.at. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
  16. ^ "Die Russen von den Finnen entzaubert, Switzerland" (in German). nzz.ch. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
  17. ^ "Schweden und Finnland spielen um Gold, Spiegel" (in German). spiegel.de. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
  18. ^ "Granlunds fräckis fixade drömfinal" (in Swedish). Svenska Dagbladet. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
  19. ^ Kimelman, Adam (13 May 2011). "Granlund scores goal for the ages at Worlds". NHL.com. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
  20. ^ "Granlund to Minsk". HS.fi. 26 May 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  21. ^ "HIFK sports director: Granlund will not go to KHL even for truck full of money". Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  22. ^ "Young hockey prospect Granlund signs 3 year contract with NHL's Minnesota Wild". hs.fi. 1 May 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  23. ^ "Houston Aeros Announce Training Camp Roster". 27 September 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  24. ^ "Wild vs Avalanche Boxscore". National Hockey League. 19 January 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  25. ^ Fox, Luke (22 April 2014). "Gotta See It: Granlund's airborne goal saves Wild". Sportsnet.ca. Sportsnet. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  26. ^ Myers, Dan (23 April 2016). "Granlund thriving on wing for Wild". NHL.com. St. Paul, Minn: NHL. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  27. ^ "Wild Inks Granlund to Three-Year Contract". NHL.com. St. Paul: Minnesota Wild. 1 August 2017. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  28. ^ Staff, TSN ca (25 February 2019). "Predators acquire Granlund from Wild for Fiala - TSN.ca". TSN. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  29. ^ IFPI website: "Taivas Varjele!" page
  30. ^ Halford, Mike (23 February 2014). "Karlsson, Kessel highlight Olympic All-Star team". NBC Sports. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  31. ^ "Media All Stars" (PDF). IIHF. 22 May 2016.

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Nick Leddy
Minnesota Wild first round draft pick
2010
Succeeded by
Jonas Brodin