The Minnesota Wild has added to its pool of young forwards, signing free agent Michael Keranen to a two-way contract for the 2014-15 season.
“We are excited to get Michael under contract for next season,” Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher said. “He had a very good year in Finland and our scouting staff thinks he is ready for the challenge of coming to North America. We are happy to add him to our lists of prospects and look forward to seeing how he performs in training camp.”
Keranen recorded 52 points (17-35=52), 47 penalty minutes (PIM) and a plus-12 rating in 52 games for Ilves Tampere in Finland’s Elite League in 2013-14. The 6-foot-1, 176-pound native of Stockholm, Sweden, led the league with six game-winning goals, ranked tied for first in scoring and tied for second in assists. He received the Golden Helmet Award (voted for by the players) as the best player in the Finnish League, the Lasse Oksanen Award as the best player during the regular season and was named to the 2013-14 All-Star Team. Keranen tallied 27 points (13-14=27) in 56 games with Ilves in 2012-13. The 24-year-old has collected 101 points (41-60=101) and 122 PIM in 194 games over the last four seasons with Ilves in Finland’s Elite League.
He was supposed to play for my team (HIFK) in FEL next season and I was waiting for it.
Oh well, its his career and this is no doubt the right decision. Hes a bit late bloomer but I think he has what it takes to play in the NHL. Exciting player to watch. Nice set of hands, great playmaking abilities but also a nose for the net if opportunity presents itself. Unlike Granlund or Koivu, he does shoot if theres a place.
I like this a lot. According to rumors Michael was supposed to got to the Panthers, but Wild is a better team for him by far (I love it in Minneapolis in my visit a while ago). He is probably not ready to step in to the big team right away, but is a player who is going to give a lot of entertainment.
He has a great balance, a good shot and moves like Datsyuk, but still needs to bulk up to get it done in the NHL. He took a lot of risks when playing in the PP as a blue line shooter and defensive play is not his strength. He is a late bloomer and his development has got huge steps in a couple of seasons. so I would not be surprised if his name was in the Wild roster when the season begins.
As a person he is as great as FBJ. Maybe the nickname for him would follow the same pattern: AFBJ - an Apostle Finnish of Baby Jesus?
The Wild seem like an odd choice for the guy. Granted we've got a ton of Finnish connections, but there are certainly easier teams to try break into for a skilled winger.
Could be the cultural connection. Let's keep in mind that it's not just off, but on the ice as well. If he somehow makes the roster, he'll almost certainly have a Finnish linemate since I believe Wild's top-three centers are all Finns.
I like it alot too but hate that he wont play for HIFK next season
This. Very mixed feelings. This sure sucks for HIFK as I predicted in trade thread
And I thought he's physically not ready.
Well, some relief is that he signed with Wild
It seems the deal is that if Keränen doesn't make to the roster from training camp, he plays for HIFK. Very safe and good deal for Wild and Keränen could be a steal potentially. Dude's got skill.
Wild and HIFK seems to have a good relationship. Maybe Pakarinen next year?
Uh, wow! Got really curious about this guy mid season. He was putting up crazy numbers in a pretty lousy team and eventually battled Teräväinen for the points in the end season. Very impressive stuff. The guy has some skills that will translate in the NHL level if he's given enough minutes and by just being patient. What I actually wonder is why Minnesota (even with the finnish connection). There are plenty of easier rosters to break. Then I just concluded that this guy must have one heck of a crazy level confidence.
If he was to break through the camp Wild would be just so enjoyable to watch. Finn here, Finn there!
It is the national team. He was one of the best forwards in the training camp, but was not selected to the team. When there were some denials due to injuries (true or false), he was offered a reserve player place in the team, but Michael said no. He stated that instead of eating popcorn in Minsk for a couple of weeks he will focus on physical training to be ready for NHL.