LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25: Mikael Granlund, drafted eighth overall by the Minnesota Wild, poses for a portrait during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Minnesota looks to be set to ink top prospect Mikael Granlund, but Wild fans aren't ready to exhale just yet.
The Minnesota Wild drafted Granlund with the 9th overall pick in 2012. According to the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and NHLPA, draft picks must be signed to their first NHL contract by June 1st two years after a player is drafted (different rules exist for players in NCAA hockey). If the player is not signed, they are allowed to re-enter the draft. June 1st just happens to be 12 days from now.
The simple question to ask is: Why have the Wild not signed this kid if he is so good? The answer is not nearly as simple. Granlund is from Finland, which complicates things on many levels. First, he has mandatory military service to complete. Second, there is no transfer agreement with the SM-Liiga, Finland's version of the NHL. Granlund also expressed a wish to complete his schooling before coming to North America.
Great. So he had some Army time to fill and a couple homework assignments. Sign the piece of paper. Right?
Wrong. There is the celebrity the kid has built in Finland. He's a rock star in the Scandinavian nation, giving him full access to all of those little things that a young man may just want to stick around to enjoy. Use your imagination. Then there is the little matter of the World Hockey Championships (which coincidentally took place in Finland), preventing the Wild from signing Granlund, per the CBA, until after Finland was eliminated.
That happened yesterday, as Finland lost to the Czech Republic.
Tick, tick, tick... pulses heighten, palms become sweaty. Twelve days before the Wild lose the highest of highly touted prospects since Marian Gaborik.
Never fear says the venerable Mike Russo of the Star Tribune (something he has been saying for months). On his blog last night, Russo had this to say:
To use Mike Yeo's favorite word, it's a process, and when signing a player from overseas, it's not as simple as "sign here." There's a few hoops to go through to complete the transfer, especially with a lack of transfer agreement right now, so it could take a few days more for the paperwork to be finalized and registered.
But again, the Wild's confident it will be announcing soon that Granlund is signed and Granlund's side has also indicated things are positive.
No one really expects this to drag out, though it could be fun if it did. The Wild seem to be confident it is almost done, the agents seem to be confident it gets done, Granlund himself said he wants it to get done, and there is absolutely no reason for it not to get done. Granlund can't pick where he would play or make more money by holding out.
Thank you, CBA.
If you are sitting in front of your computer, pressing F5 repeatedly, waiting for Russo's blog to update with news you need to do a couple things. First, get on Twitter already, and second, buy your favorite beverage, go outside and drink it. Relax. This thing gets done, and soon.