Prospect storylines to watch as training camps open.
This past week has brought with it one of our favorite times of year, training camps and preseason games. The three week crucible where the strongest punch their ticket to the big show. This year there are a few prospects to watch as we get closer to dropping the puck for real. Without further ado…
Mikael Granlund, C/W Minnesota: Show us what you got
As we all know Mikael Granlund’s much anticipated debut didn't exactly go as scripted. The Wild's top prospect posted an under whelming eight points in 27 games before being sent back down to the Houston Aeros late in the season. It's always a bit disconcerting to see a talented player like Granlund under-perform. but with his offensive skills and creativity it's premature to mark him down too harshly, especially after one short season. Obviously the transition for him to the smaller ice and larger, faster NHL players was more difficult than most had thought it would be.
Part of the problem for Granlund from a perception standpoint was being measured against what were likely too lofty expectations, and maybe just as importantly, a lack of time in the AHL to aid in the transition from European ice. For all his talent a full year in Houston may have better served him. For a smaller, finesse guy like Granlund who's used to having loads of space to operate, the move to North America would be a bit more difficult one would think. During his brief stint in Houston he produced at a point-per-game pace so there's still plenty of reason to believe he will eventually make a successful transition to the NHL.
It's been noted heading into camp that Granlund has been improving on his footwork and will start camp competing against fellow prospect Charlie Coyle for the second line center gig. This will be an interesting battle to watch as there will be plenty of comp