Connect with us

San Jose Sharks

Preview/Lines #52: Granlund Likes What He Saw of Eklund at Center



Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

Mikael Granlund liked what he saw from William Eklund at center.

Eklund, 21, made his NHL debut at center two games before the San Jose Sharks’ break, against the Seattle Kraken. Veteran center Granlund, out with an upper-body injury since Jan. 16, was watching.

“He’s a smart player. You can tell when he gets the puck in the middle of the ice with speed. He can really find those holes where you’re skating,” Granlund said. “When you look at those games, there’s a lot of good breakouts and good entries to the zone. His skating ability and smartness, he can hold on to the puck and find those little holes, it makes it easier for the whole team.”

Here’s an example of what Granlund was talking about:

“He has a lot of things that there’s people who [don’t] have those qualities,” he said. “When you see a guy do that, it’s a huge thing.”

“I like getting the puck in the middle of the ice,” Eklund said of moving from wing to center. “It’s opened up a lot of space.”

The 2021 seventh-overall pick with get another opportunity up the middle for the next little while, with Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture out with injuries. This time, Granlund will be by his side, activated off IR today.

“He’s a responsible player too,” Granlund added, on how Eklund handled the greater defensive responsibilities at center.

“I would say defensive zone is always going to be a huge thing,” Eklund demurred. “How to be able to keep guys to the outside, I’m just trying to learn everyday.”

Granlund thinks that his young protégé will learn it, and more.

“I’m sure he’s just gonna get better at that,” he said.

Preview/Lines #50: How To Play Center in NHL? Eklund Turning to Granlund for Advice

San Jose Sharks (14-32-5)

Kaapo Kahkonen will start.

Henry Thrun and Givani Smith will remain on IR, while Mario Ferraro and Mikael Granlund will come off it. Kevin Labanc and Nikita Okhotiuk will be healthy scratches.

Here’s how I’m projecting lines:



Winnipeg Jets (31-14-5)

Where to Watch

Puck drop between the San Jose Sharks and Winnipeg Jets is 4:30 PM PT at Canada Life Centre. Watch it live on NBC Sports California. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.

Welcome to your new home for San Jose Sharks breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to SJHN+ for all of our members-only content from Sheng Peng and the National Hockey Now network plus an ad-free browsing experience.

Sheng’s Travel Fund

Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.

Click here to contribute to Sheng's travel pool!

Get SJHN in your inbox!

Enter your email address to get all of our articles delivered directly to your inbox.

Hockey Shots

Extra Hour Hockey Training

Cathy’s Power Skating

Sharks Team & Cap Info

SJHN on Facebook