Earlier today, the Arizona Coyotes announced that they were buying out left winger Michael Grabner.
Grabner, a four-time 20-goal scorer, is known as a penalty-killing speed merchant. Since 2010, the 32-year-old’s 22 short-handed goals are second in the NHL only to Brad Marchand.
So why have the Coyotes bought out Grabner? Has the 32-year-old speedster lost a step? And would the 6-foot-1 winger be a good fit for the San Jose Sharks?
San Jose Hockey Now asked a scout some of these questions.
The good news?
“He can still skate,” the scout offered. “He does have enough left in the tank.”
Otherwise, however, this scout wasn’t a fan.
“He’s a specialty player. Fourth-line guy who can kill penalties. But he’s soft and doesn’t battle and doesn’t have finish,” the scout said. “He’s a Band-Aid player. He has one or two years left.”
Grabner sounds very limited. As an illustration of that, 18.5 percent of Grabner’s ice-time was short-handed, which led Arizona forwards.
However his skill-set — speed and penalty killing — are elite. So despite this scout’s warnings, should the San Jose Sharks take a shot?
For the right cost and term, say $1.5 million for one year, you have to think about it. Grabner’s speed could be a different and winning ingredient for a theoretically slower Sharks squad.
It’ll be dependent on whether or not the veteran fits new San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner’s systemic changes. While Grabner is a PK specialist first, you can’t have somebody out there who’s hurting you or holding you back 5-on-5. When Grabner’s not racing in on an opposing netminder for a breakaway, what value does he have?
It’s worth noting too that the San Jose Sharks have a ton of likely fourth-line forwards: Joel Kellman, Alexander True, Fredrik Handemark, Noah Gregor, Dylan Gambrell, Joachim Blichfeld, and Marcus Sorensen.
UFAs Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Melker Karlsson, and Stefan Noesen are also closer to fourth-line forwards than top-nine too.
So while Grabner offers a premium skill, he would be another fourth-line forward for a top-heavy group that has too many fourth-liners, not enough clear third-liners.
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