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Mikael Granlund, center, of Finland, is the ninth overall pick by the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the NHL National Hockey League draft at Staples Center in Los Angeles Friday, June 25, 2010.

Reed Saxon, Associated Press

Granlund to remain in Finland for 2011-12

  • May 19, 2011 - 10:12 PM

Despite Mikko Koivu's attempt to persuade him to play for the Wild next season, highly touted 19-year-old Mikael Granlund will remain in Finland another year, one of his representatives said Thursday.

"The game plan is he's going to be entering the army and fulfilling his service and finishing high school, and we'd come over a year from now," agent Todd Diamond said.

"Mikael prefers when he comes over to Minnesota, hockey is the only thing he needs to focus on in his life. He wants to get all these so-called housekeeping things out of the way and, a year from now, get ready to hopefully crack the lineup."

Diamond said Granlund has received permission from the Finnish Army to attend the Wild's July 10-17 development camp. Diamond said the plan is to sign "this time next year."

"We believe Minnesota is a really good spot for him and the right environment for him to succeed in the future. It's the Finland of the United States in some ways," Diamond said.

Granlund, the Wild's first-round draft pick in 2010, helped lead HIFK to an SM-Liiga championship, then Finland to a world championship.

Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher was not surprised by Granlund's decision.

"Mikael has consistently said he wanted to fulfill all of his commitments in Finland before he comes over to play in the NHL," Fletcher said.

Etc.

• The Wild is close to signing 2010 second-round pick Johan Larsson, 18, to an entry-level contract, but he's expected to play for Brynas in Sweden next season. The Swedish winger will attend Wild development camp.

MICHAEL RUSSO

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