The World Junior Hockey Championships wrapped up on Thursday with Sweden defeating Russia 1-0 in overtime to win the gold. Minnesota Wild execs and fans had their eyes on this tournament as six of their prized prospects participated in the event. The six players included Jason Zucker and Charlie Coyle for the United States, Mikael Granlund for Finland and Johan Larsson, Jonas Brodin and Johan Gustafsson for the gold metal winning Sweden. Three of those players represented their countries as their team’s captain.

Jason Zucker is a forward drafted by the Wild in the second round (59th overall) in 2010. As the captain for the United States in the World Juniors he led the team with 8 points in 6 games by scoring 3 goals and 5 assists. Charlie Coyle is another forward drafted by San Jose in the first round (28th overall) in 2010 and acquired by Minnesota in the Setoguchi-Burns trade in 2011. In the World Juniors he was tied for the team lead with 4 goals for the U.S. and also had an assist in the 6 games played. Three of the goals came on a hat trick he posted against Denmark.

Johan Larsson, Jonas Brodin and Johan Gustafsson all played a significant role in helping the Swedes win the gold medal. Johan Larsson is a forward drafted in the second round (56th overall) in 2010 by the Wild. As the team’s captain in the World Juniors, he led Sweden with 6 assists in the 6 games they played, those 6 points ranked him second on the team in points. Jonas Brodin is a defenseman drafted in the first round (10th overall) by the Wild in 2011. In the World Juniors he posted 4 points by having 4 assists in the 6 games. He also led his team with 14 penalty minutes. Johan Gustafsson is a goalie drafted in the 6th round (159th overall) in 2010 by the Wild. He led the Swedes to the gold metal by going 5-0 with a 2.11 GAA and a .888 save percentage.

Mikael Granlund is the Wild’s top prospect. He is a forward drafted in the first round (9th overall) by the Wild in 2010. As the team’s captain in the World Juniors, he led Finland with 11 points, which also ranked him second in the tournament in points. He scored 2 goals and 9 assists tying him for the tournament lead in assists. He unfortunately missed a big goal opportunity that could have led Finland to the gold metal game, when the puck slid off his stick on a shootout attempt in the semi-finals.

You now may be asking when you will see all these players in a Wild uniform. The Wild has signed both Larsson and Brodin. Larsson will turn pro for the Wild next season and be given an opportunity to make the Wild’s roster. In the chance he doesn’t make the roster he will be sent to play with the minor league affiliate in Houston. Brodin also will get an opportunity to make the Wild’s roster next season but if he fails to make the roster he will likely return to Sweden for another year of further development. Granlund still remains unsigned because he wanted to fulfill his six-month military obligation and finish school. The Wild has until June 1 to sign Granlund or they will lose his rights and he can re-enter the 2012 draft. The Wild have not signed him yet because they cannot sign him until the world championships are over which could go into May. Wild fans should not worry however because Granlund does not benefit from re-entering the draft. He cannot get more money and has no control over whom he is drafted by. He would more likely end up with a much worse team. According to Granlund’s agent they will begin negotiations with the Wild when the season is over and Granlund will be signed to the rookie maximum salary and signing bonus. Granlund has also said on multiple occasions, including after the World Juniors, that he will be joining the Wild in 2012. It also helps that Granlund’s fellow countryman Mikko Koivu plays for the Wild and they are very close friends. They both look forward to being able to play together in the NHL. As for Zucker and Coyle, they both play college hockey in the United States and it will depend when they decide to go pro before they are able to be signed with the Wild.

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