Some of the Minnesota Wild’s best players have come from the Finnish elite league, so they are trying again.
Minnesota signed free-agent forward Michael Keranen on Thursday to a two-way contract for the 2014-15 season.
Keranen, 24, tied for first in scoring in the Finnish elite league this past season with 52 points. He scored 17 goals, had 35 assists, 47 penalty minutes and was a plus-12 rating in 52 games for Ilves Tampere. The 6-foot-1, 176-pound forward was named the best player in the league in a vote by the players, winning the Golden Helmet award. He was also named the Lasse Oksanen award winner for the best player in the league during the regular season and was a 2013-14 all-star.
"We are excited to get Michael under contract for next season," Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said in a release. "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."
While he comes to Minnesota from the same league which developed Mikko Koivu, Mikael Granlund and Niklas Backstrom, Keranen is a native of Sweden and doesn’t add to the Wild’s group of Finnish players, including Erik Haula.
Keranen had 13 goals and 14 assists in 56 games in 2012-13, and has collected 101 points (41 goals, 60 assists) and 122 PIM in 194 games over the last four seasons for Ilves.