Wild sign top prospect Mikael Granlund

By Ken McKenna
Mikael Granlund - Minnesota Wild

Photo: The Minnesota Wild have signed their top offensive prospect, Mikael Granlund. HF also has the Finnish star ranked among the top 10 NHL prospects (courtesy of Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)

The Minnesota Wild took a major step toward improving their club from within with the signing of their top prospect, Mikael Granlund. Granlund is considered by some to be the top prospect currently playing outside of the NHL.

Granlund spent the 2011-12 season playing for HIFK Helsinki in the Finnish Elite League where he netted 20 goals and added 31 assists for 51 points in 45 games. He also picked up two assists in four playoff games for that club.

Granlund captained Finland's squad at the 2012 Under-20 World Junior Championship, where he tied for second in scoring at that tournament with two goals and nine assists for eleven points in seven games. The Oulu, Finland native also represented his country at the 2012 World Championship where he scored one goal and added four assists for five points in 10 tournament games.

Granlund is rated as the Wild's top prospect by Hockey's Future, and is ranked ninth among HF's ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects. His skill is undeniable, and he should provide a boost to the Wild's offense in the 2012-13 season. With the NHL seemingly becoming a bigger player's game once again, it will be interesting to see how the 5-10, 183-pound Granlund navigates the smaller confines and bigger bodies that he'll face in the NHL.