AEROS.COM Season Preview – Houston Aeros New Additions
With the season upon us, we thought it would be a good time for Aeros fans to learn more about the new additions to the Houston Aeros roster in 2012-13.
1 – Center - Mikael Granlund – There is a lot of hype around this player and given his skill set, there should be a lot of hype. Minnesota drafted this gifted scorer with the ninth overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. The Finnish native is considered one of the top prospects in all of hockey. Granlund Served as captain for Finland at the 2012 World Junior Championship and ranked tied for second in tournament scoring with 11 points (2-9=11) in seven matches as the Finns placed fourth. Granlund had 20 goals and 51 points in 45 games last season while playing for Helsinki in the Finnish Elite League. Not to mention, he scored four goals and totaled five points in a preseason game against Oklahoma City the first week of October.
2 – Defenseman – Jonas Brodin - Minnesota drafted Brodin with the 10th overall pick in 2011. Brodin is a smooth-skating defender who has the potential to be very good. He skated in seven games for Sweden in the 2012 World Junior Championships. Brodin helped Sweden win the Gold Medal, posting four assists in six games. The 19-year old is the youngest player on the Aeros roster. He played in Farjestads BK Karlstad in the Swedish Elite League last season, setting up eight goals in 49 games played.
3 – Forward – Charlie Coyle – Originally drafted by San Jose in the first round (#28 overall in 2010), Coyle was acquired by the Wild in a trade that sent former Aero Brent Burns to the Sharks. Last season, the 20-year old winger split time between Boston University and Saint John of the QMJHL. In 16 games as a sophomore with the Terriers, Coyle scored three goals and totaled 14 points. He then played the last 23 games of the regular season with Saint John, scoring 15 goals and adding 23 assists for 38 points. Coyle was even better in the playoffs, scoring 17 goals in 17 games, while totaling 32 points. He played alongside fellow Wild prospect Zack Phillips in Saint John.
4 – Center – Zack Phillips – Minnesota picked Phillips with the 28th pick of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. He played the last three years with the Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL), scoring 84 goals and setting up 135 others for 219 points in 192 games. Last season, he scored 30 goals and added 50 assists for 80 points in 60 games. Phillips ranked third in the QMJHL in plus-minus rating, 10th in assists and 14th scoring. He averaged over an assist a game in the playoffs. In 17 playoff games, Phillips scored nine goals and set up 23 for 32 points.
5 – Left wing – Jason Zucker – Minnesota drafted Zucker in the second round (#59 overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He is coming off a great season at the University of Denver that saw him post 46 points in 38 games. Zucker ranked tied for ninth in the NCAA in PPGs, tied for 13th in goals and tied for 15th in the nation in scoring. For his efforts, he was named Second Team All-WCHA for the second straight season. The Las Vegas, NV native was also named to the Final Five All-Tournament Team. He was the captain of Team USA at the 2012 World Juniors, scoring three goals and adding four assists for seven points in six games. He finished the regular season in Minnesota, setting up two goals in six games.
6 – Defenseman - Brian Connelly – You would be hard pressed to find a defenseman in the AHL who has produced more points over the last two years than Connelly. In 239 career AHL games, the Bloomington, MN native has 120 assists and 142 points. The undrafted defenseman has back-to-back 52-point seasons after splitting 2011-12 between Rockford and Abbotsford. He is very effective on the power play, picking up 19 power-play assists in 2011-12 and 18 in 2010-11.
7 – Winger – Johan Larsson – Minnesota grabbed Larsson in the second round (#56 overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Larsson makes his North American Debut after playing in Sweden last season. With Brynas IF Gavle, Larsson scored 12 goals and totaled 36 points in 49 games played. The 20-year old was named Rookie of the Year in the Swedish Elite League. Larsson was the captain of gold-medal winning Sweden at the 2012 World Juniors.