As you should have seen by now, the crew at Fansided.com have put together a pretty impressive mock draft that’s definitely worth taking a look at. A few things to mention before I get into the details of who I selected with the Kings pick at #19. First, I don’t entirely agree with some of the selections that other teams have made. Obviously that’s the case with any draft, and I didn’t imagine things would be much different here. Nonetheless, the result is that for the players that were available when I made my selection is the one that I think would be the best choice.
Of course there is plenty to debate, and I don’t honestly see the Kings drafting in this particular fashion, but if by some amazing fluke (no matter how great we are at Fansided.com, we’re not flawless) we managed to pull off the impossible and nail every single pick in the top 18, I believe the Kings should select, from HIFK, Center Mikael Granlund.
There are a few different things to note about Granlund. First of all, he’s not very big. Coming in at only 5’10″, he’s actually on the quite small side of things. Regardless, if you pay any attention, there was once another fairly useful player that came out of Finland who wasn’t all that big. Frankly, if Granlund becomes anywhere near the player of Saku Koivu, we’ll be pretty satisfied.
According to NHL Director of European Scouting (aka. the guy who should know) Goran Stubb:
Saku Koivu clone. He’s small, but no one’s told him he’s small. He has a really good, winning attitude, works very hard. He’s tough, and he has very good hockey sense.
While obviously these are the positive elements of his personality, they are also reason to be optimistic with this pick. Granlund played for HIFK last season, and netted 13 goals and 27 assists in 43 games, or nearly a point per game. He also notched 1 goal and 5 assists in 6 playoff games. As you might expect from a top Finnish prospect, he represented Finland at the U-20 and U-18 WJC’s, putting up decent numbers, with 1 goal and 6 assists in 6 games at the U-20 WJC and 4 goals and 9 assists in 6 games at the U-18 WJC’s.
One thing is sure, the Kings could use some scoring punch. Getting that ability along with a gritty, hard-to-play-against kid from Finland may be too much to pass up. Indeed, if Granlund falls all the way to #19 (most mock drafts have him somewhere between #8-15) he may be another example of a player that Lomardi can’t afford to pass up. Only time will tell… Who do you think I should have picked? Would you be happy with Granlund?