2007-08: Michael Keranen joined Tampere-based Ilves in Finland after skating in the cross-town rival Tappara program the previous three seasons. He appeared in one game with the Ilves U20 team, with no points nor penalties, and was the fourth-leading scorer for the Ilves U18 team. He scored 8 goals with a team-high 19 assists and 22 penalty minutes in 26 regular season games.
2008-09: Keranen skated in 35 games for Ilves’ U20 team as an 18-year-old. He scored 6 goals with 6 assists and 22 penalty minutes. Ilves finished ninth in the Finland A Juniors — three points behind Pelicans Lahti for the final playoff spot.
2009-10: Keranen made his first appearance in the SM-Liiga — seeing six minutes of ice time in Ilves’ 6-5 loss to KalPa with no points nor penalties — and was the leading scorer for the bronze medal-winning Ilves U20 team. Keranen scored 22 goals with 28 assists and was +9 with 50 penalty minutes in 41 regular season games. Ilves finished seventh in the regular season but advanced to the playoff semifinals and defeated fourth-place Lukko Rauma in the bronze medal game. Keranen scored 4 goals with 7 assists and was +6 with 6 penalty minutes in nine playoff games. He skated in three games for the Finland U20 team during their tour of the Mestis League — scoring 1 goal with 1 assist and 4 penalty minutes — but was not selected to play in the 2010 World Junior Championship. He was ranked 102nd among international skaters in the CSS final rankings in his third year of draft eligibility but was not selected.
2010-11: Keranen skated in 42 games for Ilves in his rookie SM-Liiga season and played nine games in Mestis with LeKi; joining the Ilves U20 team at the end of the season as it captured its second straight bronze medal in A juniors. Keranen scored 5 goals with 6 assists and was -3 with 45 penalty minutes as Ilves finished 10th in the SM-Liiga; securing the final playoff spot. Ilves swept a two-game preliminary series with HPK before being swept in four games by JyP Jyvaskyla. Keranen did not play in the playoffs. He scored 7 goals with 4 assists and was +3 with 4 penalty minutes in Mestis play with LeKi. Keranen scored 3 goals with 4 assists in four regular season games for the Ilves U20 team and scored 4 goals with 2 assists in six playoff games.
2011-12: Keranen saw increased ice time with Ilves in his second SM-Liiga in what was a disappointing season team-wise for the Tampere club. Averaging just under 15 minutes of ice time per game, he scored 6 goals with 5 assists and was -10 with 20 penalty minutes in 44 regular season games. Ilves finished last in the 14-team league and was forced to defeat Mestis champion Vaasa Sport in a relegation series to maintain its spot in the top league. Keranen skated in all five relegation games and was an even plus/minus with no points and 2 penalty minutes.
2012-13: Keranen was the second-leading scorer for Ilves behind one-time Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Matias Sointu in what was another tough season for the club. He scored 13 goals with 14 assists and was minus-23 with 10 penalty minutes as Ilves finished last for the second straight year. Keranen scored 1 goal with 4 assists and was +2 in the relegation series as Ilves defeated Mestis champion Jukurit Mikkeli four games to one.
2013-14: Keranen finished with 52 points for Ilves in his fourth pro season; tying Lukko Rauma veteran Ville Vahalahti for the league scoring lead in the re-christened Liiga. He scored 17 goals with 35 assists and was +12 with 47 penalty minutes in 52 games. Ilves finished in 11th place — three points behind HPK for the final playoff spot. Keranen skated for the Finland national team for the first time. In eight international games he scored 5 goals with 1 assist and was +6 with 2 penalty minutes. He signed a one-year entry-level contract with the Minnesota Wild on June 5th, 2014.
Keranen is a light, but highly-skilled playmaking forward who is effective at creating scoring opportunities. Not overly combative when it comes to physical play but willing to take a hit to create chances, he has had success at the AHL level in his first season of North America. Whether he can have that same type of production against bigger and more talented defenders in the NHL is uncertain.
Keranen signed a one-year entry-level contract with Minnesota on June 5th, 2014. After attending training camp with the Wild he was assigned to AHL affiliate Iowa to start the 2015-15 season. Leading the Iowa Wild in points and assists after his first 40 games he has made a smooth adjustment to the North American game. With several young forwards in the Minnesota system there is no guarantee he is re-signed by the Wild. But his play to this point suggests he can be an interesting option for a team struggling to score goals.