The Hockey Spy’s 2010 NHL Entry Draft Preview – Mikael Granlund

Christopher Ralph is a sportswriter with a focus on hockey prospects, the entry draft, as well as occasional Flames coverage here at THW.

“Full Potential” Prospect Profile:

Please “Click Here” for “Notes Up Front” and the “Legend” for various topics covered below in my “Live Updated” NHL 2010 Draft Preview article.

Mikael Granlund (Click on name for up- to- date stats)

Mikael Granlund {Miro Pesonen/@Miro Pesonen}

Age: 18
Date of birth: February 26, 1992
Place of birth: Oulu, Finland
Ht: 5-10 Wt: 180
Shoots: L
2009-10 Team:  HIFK (FIN)

NHL Status: Draft Eligible 2010

One-Timer:

Inevitably when one is an undersized, talented, crafty forward from Finland oozing with potential, that prospect will get compared to Saku Koivu.

In this case, Mikael Granlund deserves the accolades and the comparison is a valid one. In fact, he has a chance, should he reach his full potential, to exceed Koivu offensively. Matching Saku’s intensity, drive and work ethic, however, will not be an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.

After a not so inspiring WJC U20 Championships performance in Saskatchewan, he had a fantastic WJC U18 tournament. Combined with his superb play in the Finnish top league, the cerebral skilled playmaker could easily sneak into the Top 10 on June 25th.

Scout’s Honor:

* “Saku Koivu clone. He’s small, but no one’s told him he’s small. He has a really good, winning attitude, works very hard. He’s tough, and he has very good hockey sense.”
– Goran Stubb, NHL Director of European Scouting

* “There’s no doubt he has the same intangibles as Koivu. He defies the odds every time. You go to watch him play you want to not like him, but then he’s one of the best players in the game.”
– A scout as per THN’s Draft Preview 2010

* “His ability to run an offense is beyond impressive. Almost impossible to check, the very shifty [Granlund] has world class hands that constantly leave people shaking their heads in amazement. … a highlight reel of pure offensive skill who continues to develop into an even better all around player.”
– International Scouting Services NHL Draft Guide 2010

Current Season:

2009-10:  Granlund had an impressive season, leading all rookies scoring in Finland’s top league with 40 points (13 goals, 27 assists) in 43 games. He was also a plus 12. These totals are not just impressive for an 18 year old rookie, but for any player in this league. In 6 playoffs games he also notched 6 points.

Other accomplishments: (as per Elite Prospects)

SM-liiga Gentleman of the Year 09/10
SM-liiga Rookie of the Year 09/10

Scouting Combine Performance:

  • 3rd in 4-Jump Average Jump Height

International Tournaments:

Mikael led Finland in scoring with 7 points (1 G, 6 A) in 6 games at 2010 World Junior Championship U20s. He notched 13 points (4 G, 9 A) in 6 games as Finland won bronze at the recent 2010 WJC U18s. He was  first in assists and third in points overall for the tournament.

ETA = 4 yrs

Risk-Reward Analysis: Risk = 2.5/5   Reward = 4.5/5

NHL Potential: Elite playmaking centerman

Strengths:

*See “One Timer” section above.

  • Not blinding fast skater, extremely agile, possesses great balance and solid on his skates.
  • Determination and highly competitive.
  • Elite playmaker.
  • Elusive puck handling.
  • Elevates the game of his teammates.
  • Tremendous hockey intelligence.

Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:

  • Like many players at this level, Granlund simply needs to fill out physically and continue to work on his defensive zone play.
  • Size is somewhat of an issue as well with Mikael as with fellow prospect Jeff SKinner, but he more than makes up for this in other areas.

Fantasy Hockey Potential: Offensive = 9/10   Defensive = 7.5/10

NHL Player(s) Comparison:

At his best: Saku Koivu

- Middle-ground: Jiri Hudler

- Worst Case Scenario: Robert Nilsson

Video(s):

– Granlund is #64

Interesting Notes:  (NHL.com)

  • His younger brother, Markus, plays for HIFK’s junior team and joined Mikael at the 2010 Under-18 tournament totaling six points (1-5–6). They weren’t linemates, but Markus did assist on Mikael’s game-winning goal in the bronze medal game.
  • Favourite shootout move: “Forsberg style”

Other Rankings:

ISS: 15 (June ‘10)

CSB: 1-E (Apr ‘10)

TSN: 10 {Bob MacKenzie}

McKeens: 9

THN: 10

THW: 11 (June  ’10) {Christopher Ralph }

*For all the latest prospect and draft news follow me on Twitter: The Hockey Spy

This document is the intellectual property of Christopher Ralph and cannot be used or duplicated in any way without expressed written consent. Any use of this document without the expressed written consent of Christopher Ralph will result in public exposure and legal prosecution.

Photo of Granlund is by Miro Pesonen, check out his site to purchase high quality Finnish Hockey Photos

Christopher Ralph

Christopher Ralph

Managing Editor/Lead Prospect &Draft Analyst at THW
Chris is THW's senior draft/prospect analyst and a Managing Editor. Watch for Chris' regular column "The Next Ones" Prospect Profile series as well as the annual THW NHL Entry Draft Guide. Follow @ChrisRalphTHW on Twitter as he infiltrates, dissects and analyzes all happenings of hockey prospects and the NHL entry draft. Email: cralph[at]thehockeywriters[dot]com
Christopher Ralph

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