ST. PAUL, Minn. The NHL lockout was both a blessing and a curse for Minnesota Wild prospect Mikael Granlund.
The 20-year-old Finnish center spent part of the lockout playing for the Houston Aeros, Minnesota's affiliate in the American Hockey League. While with the Aeros, though, Granlund suffered an ankle injury that sidelined him for a month.
When he was healthy, Granlund was able to adjust not only to American culture and the English language but also to the style of hockey played in North America. He scored eight goals and added 13 assists in 21 games for Houston and earned AHL Rookie of the Month honors for October.
Now that the NHL's lockout is finally over, Granlund is looking to take his skills to an even bigger stage.
"It was fun down there. Now I'm here. I get to do what I want to do, play in the NHL, and that's my dream," Granlund said Wednesday, his second day of skating with his new Wild teammates at Xcel Energy Center. "I'm really excited. I think all the other guy...