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Granlund ‘Confident’ He’ll Be Better for Sharks, Rutta ‘Should Be’ Ready for Camp



Credit: NHL

Mikael Granlund and Jan Rutta are looking to rebound from tough seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

It looks like they’re going to get plenty of opportunity to do so with the San Jose Sharks: Both veterans, along with Mike Hoffman from the Montreal Canadiens, were sent to the Bay Area yesterday for superstar Erik Karlsson.

Granlund, who put up 11 goals and 64 points just two seasons ago, was in trade and even buyout rumors throughout this off-season, mainly because of his poor showing in the Steel City after the Pens acquired him from the Nashville Predators at the Trade Deadline. The 31-year-old forward put up only one goal and five points in 21 games and Pittsburgh missed the playoffs in the final days of the season. He still carries a $5 million AAV through the next two years.

Rutta, who won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020 and 2021, suffered a couple significant injuries in his debut season with Pittsburgh, which limited him to 56 games. In April, the solid stay-at-home defenseman underwent abdomen surgery. He has a $2.75 million AAV for two more years.

Mikael Granlund

Granlund on what he knows about San Jose:

I played with Luke Kunin and Matt Benning and I know some things about the team. I’m excited to come there and see how it’s gonna work out. The fans are crazy every single time I’ve played in the Shark Tank. It’s crazy out there. That’s something that really excites me. As a team, I think there’s a lot of potential in the group. It’s a young team and we’ll see how things are gonna go, but hopefully I can help myself to get a big role and I’ll do my best and help the team to take the next step.

Granlund on his time in Pittsburgh:

It’s always a tough situation [to get traded at the Trade Deadline]. It happened to me [in] my first trade from Minnesota to Nashville. It took me a little bit of time to get adjusted and that was the same thing. It’s the ‘role’ thing. Who you play with, the ice time you’re getting, and all that has a big factor in it.

At the same time, you’ve got to look yourself in the mirror and I am confident I can do much more than I did in Pittsburgh. That’s why I’m really excited about this opportunity. I can really show people and myself: It didn’t work out for me or the team in Pittsburgh, [but] I’m confident things are gonna be a little bit different next season.

Granlund on the challenges of getting traded in the middle of the season:

Everything happens really fast. You’re [in] a call. You’re in a new team. There’s a lot of new faces. The team has a different style of play. There’s new teammates and you need to figure out what they’re doing out there as well.

At the same time, it’s still hockey. In the middle of season, at least for me, it’s been a little bit tough to get adjusted and gain the confidence for even the coach to really trust you. At the same time, if you would just play super good, it would be different. but it’s never easy.

Granlund on being sent to a rebuilding team for the first time:

It’s somewhat of a different type of opportunity. Like I said, there’s some steps to be had and hopefully begin [to] take one or two steps next season. It’s always a new season. You never know what’s going to happen in this league. You go day-by-day and it is a little bit different situation.

For me, hopefully I can bring my best to the team and get a big role. Last season, in Pittsburgh, my role was different than I’ve been used to. I’m excited to show the coaches and team I can really bring my A-game and help the team the best I can.

Jan Rutta

Rutta, on his reaction to the trade:

I was shocked a little bit when I got a call from the GM. I thought all the trades were already done. But, I’ve been following on the Erik Karlsson trade. Once I got the call, I was pretty excited. I had some really good years in warm weather.

[The trade was] not a surprise. I knew that Pittsburgh really wanted to get Erik, so if you do the math, they didn’t have the cap to slot everybody on the team. I was one of the guys that was easier to move. I wouldn’t say shocked that I was traded. But even if you anticipated it a little bit, when it actually happens the first couple of minutes, your head is all over the place.

Rutta, on who he knows from the San Jose Sharks:

I played with Radim Simek, I think, one World Championships. I think we left the Czech league the same year, and I think the last year we played against each other in the semifinals. I know him quite well from Czech league.

I called Tomas [Hertl] right after I got traded. He lives in Prague, as I do, so we sometimes run into each other. I gave him a call right away and Radim texted me a couple hours after. It’s nice to have Czech guys on the team and pretty excited to see them more often.

Rutta, on his injuries last year:

The years prior, we played a lot of games in Tampa, it just took a toll on the body. Unfortunately, I was struggling last year with an injury. We didn’t make the playoffs, so I have a lot of time to get ready for the next year and Pittsburgh decided it was a good opportunity to get the body fixed. I’ve been working according to the program. I feel good. I’ve been skating for a few weeks and everything [is] good.

Rutta, on if he will ready for San Jose Sharks training camp:

I hope so. Should be.

Rutta, on his game:

Last couple of years, my role has been just playing honest, hard-working hockey. Be hard to play against, be tough to play against, and get some time on the PK.

Rutta, on possibly taking on a larger offensive role for the Sharks, perhaps on the power play:

I guess I’ll try to take a few clappers from the blueline and figure out if I still have it. (laughs) I came to the league from Europe as an offensive defenseman. I just developed the way that I saw a spot for me in the league. But, you never know.

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