Mikael Granlund didn't have the most memorable of seasons, but he's got a chance to end it on a golden high.
Granlund, the ninth pick of the 2010 Entry Draft by the Minnesota Wild, had 36 points in 39 regular-season games with HIFK in the Finnish Elite League, but missed 21 games due to a concussion.
Another Granlund coming?
After witnessing Mikael Granlund's perfectly executed lacrosse-style goal for Finland in its victory against Russia in the semifinal round of the IIHF World Championship on Friday, the big question is whether his younger brother could execute the same type of play.
NHL scouts and general managers probably are pondering that very question right now. After all, 5-foot-10, 169-pound Markus Granlund, who turns 18 on Monday, not only is Mikael's brother, but is No. 9 on NHL Central Scouting's list of European skaters eligible for the 2011 Entry Draft.
The younger Granlund was captain for Finland at the World Under-18 Championship in Germany. He finished second on the team with 10 points (2 goals, 8 assists) as the team finished fifth.
Granlund is regarded as a fantastic skater with outstanding play-making ability. Though not as strong as his Mikael, taken by the Minnesota Wild with the ninth pick of the 2010 Draft, Markus Granlund is a consistent point producer in most games. In six games on loan with the Suomi Under-20 team in the Finnish second division, he had 3 goals and 6 points. He had 11 goals and 21 assists in 15 international games for Finland this season. -- Mike G. Morreale
He returned to score a league-best 16 points in 15 playoff games to lead HIFK to the league title, and followed that with a star turn for Finland at the World Championship.
In Friday's semifinal against Russia, the game was scoreless early in the second period when the teams set for a faceoff to the left of the Russia net. Off the draw the puck rolled into the corner, where Russia's Dmitri Kalinin retrieved it. However, Granlund swept in, took the puck away from him and skated behind the Russia net.
And that's when the 19-year-old made a magic move fans will be watching for a long, long time.
Granlund, at full speed, scooped the puck onto the blade of his stick. With the puck suction-cupped on, he brought his stick up and used the crossbar to scrape the puck off. It dropped behind a stunned Russian goalie Konstantin Barulin and gave Finland a 1-0 lead.
The goal held up as the winner as Finland won 3-0 and advanced to Sunday's gold-medal game, where they'll face Sweden.
It was Granlund's second goal of the tournament, and his 6 assists lead the team.
Granlund, a 5-foot-10, 180-pounder, likely will be in camp for the Wild in the fall and could have a shot at earning a second-line center spot.
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
I watched many times this year the series between the Russians and Canada in 1972, and he was a dominating player there. After I watched the tapes, I respect him a lot more because he turned the series around. He was the guy. In that time, he was the best in the world. It’s a big honor for me to tie him.
— Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr on scoring the 717th goal of his career to tie Phil Esposito for fifth on the NHL's all-time goals list after a 4-3 win vs. the Lightning on Sunday