Yup, that Michael Keranen. Still not ringing a bell? Well, here’s what I found out.
A 24 year old, Swedish/Finnish player, Keranen was one of the leading scorers in Sm-Liiga this season, despite playing on a terrible Ilves Tampere team. I’ve seen several different reports of his height and weight. The official Wild press release has him at 6’1″ 176 pounds, but other outlets have him as low as 5’11” 149 pounds. So, that’s starting to read like an online dating profile vs. reality kind of thing.
In any case, he had 17 goals and 35 assists, tying for the league lead in points with the excellently named Ville Vahalahti this season, and won the “Golden Helmet Award” (awesome) as SM-Liiga’s top player. He’s seen a meteoric offensive rise over the past few seasons, all with Tampere. His point total from his first four seasons with the club was 49 points in 143 games, going from 11 to 27 to 52. Not surprisingly, every scouting report describes him as a late-blooming offensive player. Here’s a video:
Honestly, this could be the last time any of us ever hear of Keranen. He signed a two-way contract, so Iowa is an option, and there isn’t much to suggest the Wild have found a star. Still, several serviceable-to-good players come from the late-blooming Scandanavian route, so taking a flier every once in a while can’t hurt.