The Nashville Predators have reportedly avoided salary arbitration with Petter Granberg by agreeing to a two-year contract this afternoon. The terms of the deal via Tim Wharnsby state that it is a two-way contract for at least the first year of the deal which will be worth $575,000 (NHL) and $175,000 (AHL) with $300,000 guaranteed for the 2016-17 season which then kicks up to $650,000 (NHL) for the 2017-18 season.
Granberg’s 2015-16 season was an eventful one considering all the unexpectedness that came with it for him. He was hampered by injury prior to the start of the season which is likely why the Toronto Maple Leafs wanted to see if he could reach the AHL to start the season before migrating back topside. That never happened as the Predators managed to claim him off of waivers, send him on a conditioning assignment to the Milwaukee Admirals to provide him his first game-action of the season, and then bring him up for the rest of the season.
Considering Granberg’s NHL experience this time last year was 8 games I feel last year was a slight shock to the system given his situation. He probably should have been in the AHL to start the season just to get his legs properly back under him but couldn’t due to the waiver wire process needed to get there. His role soon became being an alternate, or healthy scratch, with the Predators defense. He played 27 games last season for the Predators, so his wealth of NHL experience has certainly grown, but I would argue that Granberg was never playing at his full potential given all that last season threw at him.
I don’t anticipate Granberg will be with the Predators at the start of the 2016-17 season but fans in Nashville shouldn’t take that as a knock against Granberg at all. If he does make the team out of camp? That’s fantastic. It really is. But, given the Predators depth up top, Granberg isn’t exactly going to be bumping anyone of that defensive six-man lineup out for playing time. Does he get ice time over Yannick Weber? I don’t know about that.
Should the Predators need that flex-defenseman that is busy cultivating cobwebs while wearing a suit and watching from afar? Granberg has experience doing that from last season and can fill that role if needed. That role likely gets filled by either Granberg or possibly Stefan Elliott once he gets a deal hammered out with the organization. Between those two Elliott is the type of defenseman more suited to the way the Predators play and also has more NHL experience. The seventh line of defense in Nashville should come down to those two with the odd-man out heading to Milwaukee.
Where this deal works best for me is in that last paragraph. You have depth. You have competition for ice-time. And it creates a situation where Nashville and Milwaukee are going to benefit. What will be great for Granberg is that he is now heading into a season and situation fully fit and aware of what he’s getting himself into. If he earns his place in Nashville? He stays his course from a season ago. If he ends up in Milwaukee? He gets to build himself back up while being the top option for a recall in the event of an injury. Granberg isn’t the prototypical Predators style “join the rush” defenseman. He’s more of a stay at home defenseman but was tasked with learning the Predators system a season ago on the fly and at an NHL level – which he barely played at previously. He’s had roughly a year to digest it. He’s healthy. He’s capable of bouncing between the NHL/AHL now this season. This should be a year to really see just what sort of defenseman the Predators really picked up off of waivers a season ago.
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