It's been less than a year, but the early returns on the first Minnesota Wild draft led by Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr look quite tantalizing. The club's first round pick, Mikael Granlund
, enjoyed another stellar year in the Finnish Elite League and then dazzled at the World Championships where he helped Finland win gold.
Following the selection of Granlund, the Wild had three picks in last year's second round. One of those was used to select Jason Zucker
, who was named the Rookie of the Year in the WCHA after a spectacular freshman campaign. The other two second rounders have been signed to Entry Level contracts. Brett Bulmer
inked his deal last month, and today the Wild signed Swedish forward Johan Larsson
to a three-year, entry level contract.
The 18-year-old posted four goals and four assists while playing 43 games with Brynas IF Gavle in Sweden's Elite League. He moved up to the Elite League early in the season after dominating with Brynas' junior team, posting six goals and nine assists in 10 games.
Larsson also showed his skills and leadership in international competition. As a member of Sweden's World Junior team, he posted a goal and three assists as the Swedes took fourth. At the Under-19 Three Nations Tournament, he tallied two goals and three assists in three games while serving as captain of the squad.
At 6-feet, 198 pounds, Larsson plays with an edge, willing to take the body and utilize his speed. While he is expected to return to Sweden for the regular season this winter, Larsson will be at the Wild's Development Camp in June, and possibly the team's training camp in September.
"We're very excited to have Johan under contract," said Flahr. "He's a quality prospect with a good combination of skill, grit, and character. We look forward to having him in camp and monitoring his development going forward."
Granlund is also expected to play in Europe next season. Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher told the Star Tribune, "Mikael has consistently said he wanted to fulfill all of his commitments in Finland before he comes over to play in the NHL."