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  • Top 25 under 25: #15: Michael Keränen (aka Sprout)


    After being undrafted, Keränen signed with Ilves. In his fifth season with the club, Keränen was the second-leading in the league, scoring 17 goals and 35 assists in 52 games. After the most recent season, Keranen signed with HIFK before signing an NHL out-clause to come to the Minnesota Wild. For his stellar performance in his latest season, Keränen was awarded the Guldhjälmen; the most-valuable-player award (decided by a player vote). He was also awarded the Lasse Oksanen award for being the best player in the regular season.

    What is even more exciting than his most recent year is that he has shown drastic improvement from season to season, nearly doubling his output each year.

    What's His Role?

    Keränen has a lot of upside and potential. He is described on Elite Prospects as a "Fast and Flashy Dangler," with the clarification that he is a proficient defensive player. They also add that he would be wasted in a bottom-6 role. The left-shot forward certainly displays the abilities needed to compete for such a role, but does he fit in with the Wild's plans?

    Keraänen is a very exciting prospect, but at this time a prospect is all he is. He has been at the Wild's training camp, and will be with the team for the foreseeable future (he will be a restricted free agent when his 1-year contract expires). He appears to have an extremely accurate shot, and wonderful instincts with (and without) the puck; all the makings of a star. However, he will need time to develop. Here are two highlight reels that showcase his talents.


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