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Wild sign Finnish league sniper Keranen

Jun 5, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

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The best player in the Finnish league is on his way to Minnesota.

Michael Keranen, who was voted by his peers as the SM-liiga’s top performer last season, has agreed to a two-way deal with the Wild for next season, GM Chuck Fletcher announced on Thursday.

“We are excited to get Michael under contract for next season,” Fletcher said in a statement. “He had a very good year in Finland and our scouting staff thinks he is ready for the challenge of coming to North America.

“We are happy to add him to our lists of prospects and look forward to seeing how he performs in training camp.”

Keranen, 24, captured two of Finland’s biggest awards last season. The first was the “Golden Helmet” — the league’s top player, voted by the players — which was previously won by the likes of Tim Thomas, Ville Leino, Saku Koivu and Brian Rafalski.

The second is the Lasse Oksanen Trophy, awarded annually to the SM-liiga’s best player during the regular season. Two years ago, current Blackhawks goalie Antti Raanta captured the trophy.

Keranen won this year’s awards on the strength of scoring 52 points in 52 games for Tampere, leading the league with six game-winning goals. It was a major breakout campaign for the flashy forward, who shattered his previous career high of 27 points and has been described as something of a late bloomer.

  1. guitarhunterdude - Jun 5, 2014 at 5:47 PM

    Might make the team, might not. The fact that he was undrafted and this was far and away makes me pretty skeptical. Regardless, it’s worth a shot, and he might provide some good depth scoring. A third line of Nino/Coyle-Haula-Keranen could be pretty fun in soft minutes.

    • guitarhunterdude - Jun 5, 2014 at 5:47 PM

      Should say “this was far and away his best season,” my bad.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:31 PM

      You never know how much of an impact a European can make. Michael Raffl didn’t breakout until he was 24. And that was only in Sweden’s second league. The Flyers signed him, not expecting much, and he became a guy who played on all 4 lines, killed penalties, and provided some offense. Who knows, Keranen could surprise. Of course for all the Raffl’s and Raanta’s there are guys like Jiri Dopita.

      • capsfan14 - Jun 6, 2014 at 3:41 AM

        So you’re saying all North american players make a difference and display great consistency in the NHL? This is the problem, European players are not given enough patience, it’s like everybody waits to point fingers at the “lazy and greedy skilled European”.

  2. mnwildfan15 - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:28 PM

    “And we can build this thing together, standing strong forever, nothing’s gonna stop us now.”

    • lordfletcher - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:08 PM

      IALTO

      • mnwildfan15 - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:42 PM

        ALLLLLLLLWAYS.

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:20 PM

      Except Chicago… again

    • justintimezone - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:10 PM

      Yay for Starship!

  3. jdangerd - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:16 PM

    It is a 1 year 2 way contract that likely does not hurt the cap situation. CF is a bit of a betting man and this could end up being a win. Just the fact the Wild can sign ‘higher’ rated young FA is a testament to the future of the Wild.

  4. tross16 - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    It’s a good, low risk signing

  5. gdeli - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    I know nothing of hockey and I don’t really give a crap about it but this sounds good for mn.

  6. purpleguy - Jun 6, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    I think the Wild is trying to create the next Finnish Olympic team.

  7. illogic87 - Jun 6, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    Wild are going undefeated next year!

  8. cliffatola - Jun 7, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    I heard a rumor that it will be NHL or he has the choice to go back home if they want to send him to Iowa.

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