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Quinn: ‘If you want to talk about Mikael Granlund, you gotta pay up. I don’t want him going anywhere’

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

Mikael Granlund is on a very short list of players who have outperformed expectations for the San Jose Sharks this season, which makes him all the more valuable as the Sharks look to sell off assets at the Trade Deadline.

Granlund has gotten used to hearing his name in trade discussions, though.

After all, he got traded twice in the span of a few months in 2023, first from the Nashville Predators to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the last year’s Deadline, then to the Sharks in the blockbuster Erik Karlsson deal during the summer.

“There’s nothing you can do about any of that stuff,” Granlund said. “You just go out there, play hockey and try to do all you can. There’s literally nothing you can do about any of that stuff.

“So enjoy the game of hockey.”

After a disastrous tenure in Pittsburgh which saw him score just one goal and five points in 21 games, he is enjoying it to his usual standard in San Jose.

He has six goals, a team-leading 25 assists, and 31 points in just 42 games, which has made him an intriguing trade target, despite having one more year left on his contract after this season at $5 million AAV. The 31-year-old center has no trade protections.

“I knew this season, coming into it, was going to be way better than last season,” Granlund said.

“It was tough, but I feel like there’s way more to give even in my future years in my game. I know that, and it’s kinda cool feeling good and your game is feeling good. I know there’s another level, too, but it’s kind of cool to feel like you’re on the ice and being able to do the things you want to do.”

The San Jose Sharks are thankful to have more than just Mikael Granlund the hockey player.

“He is a player, a person, and a leader, and in particular, in the situation we are in, to have a guy with that makeup, the way he plays, his leadership ability, the type of guy he is, that’s invaluable to our soul,” coach David Quinn said.

“I mean, Wayne Gretzky got traded, but if Mikael Granlund is going to get traded it’s going to be for a hefty price.”

After all, Granlund has handled himself well in a very peculiar situation. The Sharks are rebuilding, they can’t stay healthy, but he’s managed to embrace being in San Jose.

“I’ve loved my time here,” Granlund said. “It’s a beautiful city. We’ll see how things go but I’ve loved my time here.”

On the ice, that’s meant becoming a leader for all of San Jose’s young players.

“Guys like him are few and far between in this league,” Quinn said.

“He’s always spending time with our young players, he’s got a great approach to the game, he is always on the right side of the play for the most part. He’s a really smart player, and it can’t always be the coach’s voice that’s heard. So it certainly makes your job as a coach a lot easier when you have players like that.”

That’s not just coach speak: With captain Logan Couture and alternate captain Tomas Hertl hitting IR recently, Quinn named newcomer Granlund and Luke Kunin as alternate captains.

And Quinn knows what he can provide for a playoff team — after all, both the Predators and Penguins paid handsomely at the 2018 (Kevin Fiala) and 2023 Trade Deadlines (2023 second-round pick), respectively — so he doesn’t want to see Granlund going for a low price.

Of course, Granlund had difficulty adjusting to both those in-season trades, and at 5-foot-10, his size isn’t necessarily ideal for a playoff center. But if there’s a player that plays bigger than his size, it’s certainly Granlund, who ranks third among Sharks forwards with 2.54 Puck Battle Wins Per 20 at 5-on-5.

“Size is great, but a lot of big guys don’t play with that competitiveness he has and the smarts that he has,” Quinn said. “That’s never been his problem there. He’s always overcome his size because of his intelligence and his competitiveness.”

“If you want to talk about Mikael Granlund, you gotta pay up. I don’t want him going anywhere.”

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