The best player in the Finnish league is on his way to Minnesota.
Michael Keranen, who was voted by his peers as the SM-liiga’s top performer last season, has agreed to a two-way deal with the Wild for next season, GM Chuck Fletcher announced on Thursday.
“We are excited to get Michael under contract for next season,” Fletcher said in a statement. “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.”
Keranen, 24, captured two of Finland’s biggest awards last season. The first was the “Golden Helmet” — the league’s top player, voted by the players — which was previously won by the likes of Tim Thomas, Ville Leino, Saku Koivu and Brian Rafalski.
The second is the Lasse Oksanen Trophy, awarded annually to the SM-liiga’s best player during the regular season. Two years ago, current Blackhawks goalie Antti Raanta captured the trophy.
Keranen won this year’s awards on the strength of scoring 52 points in 52 games for Tampere, leading the league with six game-winning goals. It was a major breakout campaign for the flashy forward, who shattered his previous career high of 27 points and has been described as something of a late bloomer.