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Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin/AP

CanucksArmy Year In Review: Markus Granlund

Markus Granlund, the man can sort of do it all! Granny kill penalties, plays in a shutdown role, can be a winger or a centre and he can even slot in to your powerplay in a pinch. He sounds like a great addition to a team, and as a 13th forward I would argue that he is very valuable to an organization if used in that role.

I’m not going to dump on Granlund’s game too much, he is what he is. Granny can contribute to an NHL team, this season he notched 12 goals and 10 assists in 77 games played, finishing the year as a -4 while mostly being used in a bottom six role with time on the second powerplay unit and the second penalty kill unit as well.

The biggest problem is that though he is capable of helping with those two spots he shouldn’t be the first option, even for the second units. Granlund is adequate when it comes to special teams but he is nothing to write home about. His usage on this team is forced because of a lack of elite talent which creates open spots for a guy like Granlund to be pushed into roles that he likely won’t accel in at the NHL level.

Sure, Markus Granlund was nearly a 20 goal scorer in a year that saw him catch a lot of people’s eyes and after that year it was believed that he could be an impact forward who could provide some depth scoring. This could still be true but with the season that was just had there is reason to believe that Granlund may just be another depth forward in the Canucks organization that they could be looking to move on from.

Granny has seen his ice time drop by at least one full minute per game since he arrived in Vancouver.

He played 121 minutes on the powerplay and was on the ice for half of the teams shorthanded goals against which was four. Compare that to guys like Alex Edler, who was on the powerplay for over 176 minutes this season and only allowed two shorthanded goals against or Elias Pettersson who was on the powerplay for 256 minutes and only on the ice for one shorthanded goal against.

It was an up and down season for Granny and it’s been like that for a few years now, coach Travis Green seems to like him, being quoted multiple times this season saying “We wanted to get Granny in” when talking about other players like Goldobin or Schaller being taken out of the lineup.

And that’s where Granlund shows his value, he is likely a better contributor to the Travis Green’s game plan than other fringe players on this team, that’s why we saw Granlund play in 77 games this year while guys like Goldy and Schaller were at 63 and 47 each.

Granlund can be used in many different situations and though he isn’t a gamebreaker or very memorable he is useful in a fourth line role with the ability to kill penalties, or jump up onto the third line. Granlund would be a good bargain at anywhere under 1.5 million dollars as he is definitely an everyday NHL player but we as fans just need to try and accept that Granlund isn’t going to be the 20-25 goal scorer that some of us (including myself) thought we would see out of him after showing some offensive potential early on in his Canucks career.

According to Evolving-Hockey’s EVO vs EVD Good, Dull, Bad, Fun chart, Granny is the dullest player on the team, and it’s not really close…

After another bumpy season for Granny, he now approaches into restricted free agency, coming off of a 1 year, 1.475 millions dollar contract I would expect to see something similar but for maybe double the term. Granlund has had times where he was a contributing factor on this team but he was also absent for good stretches of games, he had an 11 game run this season where he averaged 18:39 of ice time per game while also having a separate 11 game run where he averaged 11:37.

I can see the Canucks looking to sign Granny at a 2 year, 1.3-1.8 million AAV contract. I can also see the Canucks just looking elsewhere into free agency. A guy like Brandon Tanev would be a name that would probably do a lot of what Markus Granlund has been doing and maybe even more. In the end Granlund is another bottom six player on a team that has too many bottom six players. He will likely be back for another season with the Vancouver Canucks but if he isn’t there are plenty more Markus Granlunds out there.

I honestly want to know what your takes are on Granlund, is he worth bringing back at 1.5-1.75 AAV?
Is he just another one of the too many bottom six guys.
Let me know in the comments, I am very curious.

 

  • Doodly Doot

    A plug-and-play depth guy who’s defensively cognizant and capable relative to the quality of his linemates (improved his +/- over the past four years). Also seems to contribute offence relative to the talent he skates with. He’s proven able to shape-shift into the role Green gives him. A bubble guy on a good team. A useful guy on the current roster. A value contract at under $2M.

    A note about his involvement with shorthanded goals: the comments and thin stats are cherry-picked to serve the writer’s perspective. Who else was on the ice during these shorthanded goals and who was directly involved in the loss of puck control leading to the goal? Also, who had primary defensive responsibilities? Was this all Granlund? Rather than seeming insightful and telling, they come off as intentionally degrading.

    • Goon

      Four shorthanded goals against over a season for Granlund, compared to two for Edler? Far more likely to be randomness than an actual problem with Granlund’s special teams play.

  • Steampuck

    I have a soft spot for Granlund for the positive elements listed above. That versatility is a strength, even if it means he’s played up and down the lineup, probably at the expense of his own stat line. Plus: having an extra guy on the ice who can take a face-off isn’t a bad thing. All this talk about trading him doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. He’s like your fifteen-year-old Volvo: steady, reliable, and more valuable to you than anything you’d ever get for it (or the cost of replacement). I could live with a two-year contract (even three, though that seems unlikely) under 2.

  • TD

    I agree that he should not be on the powerplay once there are better options, but I like him on the kill and he scored 12 goals on the 4th line. That is good 4th line production on any team. With the lack of offence, why wouldn’t the Canucks keep the guy who scored the 7th most goals on the team?

  • Locust

    If this years playoffs proves anything it is you need depth players on affordable contracts who can be slotted into various scenarios and not flounder around and be a liability.

  • RetroCanuck

    Depth player. Id give him a 3yr 1.25M deal. Likely wouldn’t be picked up if you waived him due to the term, yet can add solid depth value longterm. Whether thats on the Canucks 4th line or in Utica when guys like MacEwen show they deserve a spot.

    With the injuries this team gets we need some NHL quality players in Utica ready to be recalled.

  • If I was the coach, I’d be super happy to have a guy that I could reliably throw into virtually any forward situation and have confidence that he could at least hold his own: EV, PP, PK, shoot-out, face-offs, centre, wing, etc. Having Granlund as a utility player that can play up the line-up means we don’t need to have a better player play down to cover for an injury, penalty or game ejection.

  • Kanuckhotep

    All things considered Markus Granlund for what he brings to the line up has to be deemed a successful acquisition. As a fan I trust #60 out there in a variety of situations over a lot of guys they’ve had since he’s been here. I see no kid or prospect we have replacing his reliable flexibility presently and is a cap friendly dude. Not flashy but you know what you’re getting.

  • Cageyvet

    He’s useful, but was decidedly underwhelming this year. At times he felt like a liability, and even when his game is “on” it seems like he is not progressing in any facet of the game. I hate walking away from a player when you could trade him for something, even a late round draft pick, but there’s no urgency to keep him. I certainly don’t think he’s earned a raise of any kind, and if we keep him, is he blocking the path of a younger player with at least some upside?

    If he brought a physical, grinding game it would be a different story, but when he’s out of the lineup, do we suffer in any meaningful way? I don’t think so. He’s had his turn at centre, his preferred position, and the results were no better than his work on the wing. He’s useful, but clearly replaceable without much difficulty.

  • Kevlar73

    I will echo most of the comments made already. Decent hands and offensive upside for a fourth line player. If he truly became the Canucks 13th forward only playing 40 to 50 games due to injuries of the squad I think that would be perfect

  • Hockey Bunker

    Granlund is a Jannik Hansen tyoe player who will be very useful in the playoffs because in playoff hockey he can get on the forecheck and cause havoc on dump ins. He’ll surprise, bank on it….