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NHLPA Player of the Week Granlund Explains Resurgence



Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

Mikael Granlund has found his groove.

It just took some time.

In the season opener with the San Jose Sharks, the 31-year-old center re-aggravated a training camp lower-body injury during his second shift and would miss two weeks while on Injured Reserve. In his first seven games back from injury, he had just one assist.

That injury was one adjustment.

Also, he was in a new environment with the Sharks, the third team he’s been on in the last nine months. As he shared with San Jose Hockey Now on Tuesday, he’s been spending time “trying to figure out everybody’s tendencies.”

David Quinn also highlighted that yesterday, reiterating that “it takes time when you get a bunch of new players.”

Granlund and the Sharks seemingly turned the page together with his coast-to-coast “ESPN” goal and two-point performance against the Vancouver Canucks two weeks ago, a 4-3 San Jose victory.

Granlund Scores ‘ESPN’ Goal, Sharks Beat Canucks 4-3

Granlund said: “The whole game, the way I was feeling on the ice, skating. I was really getting there, feeling healthy. That was kind of the turning point.”

Including that performance, Granlund has scored three goals and nine assists in his last seven games. The San Jose Sharks are 5-2-0.

He was also just named the NHLPA’s Player of the Week. He’s been that good.

“When you’re moving the way you want to move out there, that makes things way easier,” he said, pointing mainly to his health for his resurgence.

For Granlund though, it doesn’t start with offense.

“The defensive game, and overall game, is really big to me. I always try to do my best and not cheat the game. That’s just the way I’m built and the way I play. That gives the team the best chance to win.”

“Granlund is always in the right place,” Quinn said. “He’s above the puck 50-50 wise. He’s below when he needs to be below. He’s such a smart player, and he’s healthy.”

Defense feeds the offense, an attitude that makes Granlund a player you can win with.

“Personally, the way I want to be is responsible defensively and do all the good things there,” he shared. “From there, we’re getting more opportunities offensively and getting faster as well.”

You can look at Granlund’s success with Anthony Duclair and Fabian Zetterlund on a line in this road trip as an example of that.

“We don’t have a smarter player than Granlund,” Quinn said, pointing to yesterday’s game-tying goal. The pre-scout from Thomas Speer noted that the boards at Little Caesars Arena are lively. “He shoots it off the back wall, and it goes to Hertl, and goes in the back of the net.”

Just two years ago, Granlund posted 64 points for the Nashville Predators. We’re seeing that Granlund again, and the San Jose Sharks couldn’t be happier.

“Hopefully, I can stay healthy and keep building on my game,” Granlund said.

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