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Factor Facts: Mikael Granlund

Career highs in nearly every offensive category made for Finnish forward's best season yet

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Factor Facts is an inside-the-numbers look at the Minnesota Wild's season that was. Today, Wild.com examines forward Mikael Granlund, and the impact he had on Minnesota's historic 2016-17 campaign:

By all measures, Wild forward Mikael Granlund posted a career season.

The Wild's first-round pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, Granlund has always had the potential to be a star in the League, and has, at various points, showed glimmers of what could be.

In each of the past three seasons, Granlund has surpassed 30 assists. But never had he shown to be the type of goal scorer needed to raise his game to star status.

That all changed in 2016-17.

Moved from center to the wing by interim head coach John Torchetti during the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Granlund looked comfortable. So good, in fact, that Bruce Boudreau chose to keep him there this season.

The decision paid off.

Granlund posted career highs in goals, assists, points, plus/minus, power-play goals, power-play points, short-handed goals, game-winning goals and shooting percentage.

Here's a look inside the numbers and how they stacked up to his previous seasons in the NHL.


26

The number of goals scored by Granlund this season, twice as many as his previous career high of 13 in 2015-16. Prior to that season, Granlund had not reached double figures in any of his first three seasons.


43

One thing Granlund had proven at the NHL level was his eye for making plays. That was only magnified this season, as he posted 43 helpers, 10 more than his career best entering the season (33 in 2013-14).


69

Granlund had a nice connection with Mikko Koivu and Jason Zucker for a good chunk of the season, as the trio was the Wild's best line from Thanksgiving into March. Like Granlund, Zucker had a career season while Koivu, in his age 33 season, had his best campaign in years. Granlund's 69 points led the team, was the tied for the third-most in franchise history and was the most by a Wild player since Koivu scored 71 in 2009-10.


81

With the Wild's playoff positioning locked down, Boudreau decided to rest Granlund in the team's regular-season finale in Arizona. But make no mistake: Granlund was healthy enough to play in the game if needed. And if he had, it would have been his second consecutive season of 82 games played. With his slight build at 5-foot-10 and 184 pounds, there was once a concern that Granlund would have trouble physically in the NHL. The game in Arizona, however, would have marked 200 consecutive games played.


12

Granlund has never racked up penalty minutes in bunches, but that was especially the case this season, when he committed just six minor penalties in 81 games played. His outstanding offensive production combined with his gentlemanly play on the ice has made Granlund a finalist for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, to be presented at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas next month.


7

One area where the Wild really needed improvement this season was on the power play. Granlund's seven power-play goals were certainly a boon in that department, as Minnesota finished the regular season ninth the in the League with the man advantage. The seven power-play tallies were second-most on the team behind Nino Niederreiter's eight.

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