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Selanne gives his thumbs-up to diminutive Wild prospect Granlund

Jul 7, 2012, 4:06 PM EDT

Mikael Granlund Getty Images

While wait to find out if Teemu Selanne will return to the Anaheim Ducks for another season, he’s busy helping pass the torch to an up-and-coming Finnish prospect set to make his debut next season.

Minnesota’s Mikael Granlund will be bringing his highlight reel scoring to the NHL and Selanne tells MTV3 in Finland Granlund’s size won’t be a hindrance. (Kudos to Sampsa at First Round Bust for the translation)

Under 6 ft. Granlund could have had problems with his size before the lockout rule changes, but Selänne reminds that even similar sized Saku Koivu was able to make the break to the NHL.

“Size isn’t as big of a matter as it was before. Saku came in at a challenging time. Hockey today is more skill based, huge colossals (players if this doesn’t translate too well) have disappeared from the game. It’s a win to the sport. Back in the days, small players weren’t even drafted no matter how good they were.”

Standing at anywhere between 5’8″ and 5’10” Granlund’s smaller size was an issue for some, but his offensive creativity and goal scoring ability seemed to matter more. After all, Martin St. Louis seems to be a pretty good player.

Getting the “atta boy” from Selanne means big things for a little guy like Granlund. With all sorts of attention being paid to the Wild now, surely there won’t be any pressure to perform. Good luck, kid.

  1. Brian - Jul 7, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    He stands anywhere between 5’8 and 5’10? Is he some kind of shapeshifter? You’d think that if he had the choice like that he’d stay 5’10 all the time.

  2. atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 7, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    Height doesn’t mean much, what’s more important is weight and body type (is he a muscular guy?) those things will determine his ability to take hits and not get injured from them. Also his speed and shiftiness, if you can avoid big contact hits it’s much more valuable than being 6’4″

  3. ray2013 - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    Selanne can talk about how the game is different, but we just saw a large number of suspensions in the playoffs for some pretty out of bounds plays. Since the Wild are “obviously” going to the playoffs next year, how does he hold up if and when he’s targeted by a borderline or not even close to borderline kind of play? It’s a question that all teams with smallish, skilled forwards has to ask.

    If you were playing the Wild, do you trade a 4th-line energy guy for a key top-6 forward if you were in a playoff series with them? And if it was a star taking him out, I’m sure Shanny would give them a medal instead of a suspension.

    It’ll be interesting to see how or if he holds up.

    • wpgjetter - Jul 7, 2012 at 9:39 PM

      Who says that the Wild are “obviously” going to the playoffs??? Just because they signed 2 top guys it doesn’t automatically punch a post season ticket. As I said in a previous thread, their defense is still VERY subject to scrutiny…at best they remain sub-par until proven otherwise. Many of the games lost last year were due to defensive collapses in mid to late games. I highly doubt that a couple of off season changes will drastically change that and certainly not right in the beginning.

      • ray2013 - Jul 8, 2012 at 4:00 AM

        Rather than argue with Wild fans about whether their team was a playoff lock, I was just pointing out that a rookie prospect like Granlund hasn’t proven whether he can handle the physical play that he’ll face as a top-6 forward. Particularly in the playoffs, where the referees look the other way when it comes to penalties (see Weber, see a dozen guys in round 1).

        I pointed out in other threads that their top scorer only got 53 points, and two other players tied for 44 points. That will need to improve if they are going to make it to the playoffs. I also pointed out that outside of Suter and Gilbert, they have a thin defensive corps, especially their seventh and eighth d-men.

        They’ve still got a lot of holes. But adding three players the skill level of Granlund, Suter and ZP will see them improve. It has to. Playoffs? We’ll see.

      • lordfletcher - Jul 8, 2012 at 12:51 PM

        @ray

        -wild fan who agrees with you

  4. williplett - Jul 7, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Latendresse is 6’2” and around 240 lbs and he played less than twenty games each of the last two seasons for the Wild because of various injuries. Any player, no matter their size, can get injured in this league; at this point, injuries are a way of life in the NHL.

    I’m sure Zenon Konopka and Matt Kassian will be curious to see how it all plays out as well.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jul 7, 2012 at 7:44 PM

      Konopka believes Granlund, Koivu, Heatley, and Parise should be sitting at center ice reading the morning paper while drinking tea and eatting crumpets and nobody should lay a finger on them.

  5. kingfooj - Jul 7, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    2 words: Nathan Gerbe.
    Granlund will be fine

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