The playmaking ability of Minnesota Wild center Mikael Granlund has been evident this season, as the first-round pick (No. 9) in the 2010 NHL Draft has 10 assists to tie for third on the team.
Granlund, 21, can make magic happen at any time playing on a line with another young talent in Nino Niederreiter on his left and veteran Jason Pominville on his right. Pominville is among the NHL's goal leaders with 13, a testament to Granlund's strong work.
Sometimes the best way to stop a player with Granlund's finesse is to play a physical game, the approach Ottawa defenseman Marc Methot took in a game between the teams Wednesday.
With the Wild up 3-2 in the opening minute of the third period, workhorse defenseman Ryan Suter sprung Granlund with a pass out of the defensive zone. Granlund carried the puck from his own blue line across the Senators' stripe, but his attempt to go around Methot at the right circle was thwarted when the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder delivered a thundering hip check that sent Granlund, 5-10 and 186, careening into the side boards.
Granlund was able to get right back to his feet after the spill and keep the Wild possession going in the Ottawa zone, but he was held scoreless on the night in 17 minutes in a game Minnesota went on to win 4-3.