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Eat Your Heart Out, Pittsburgh: Granlund Takes Us Inside His Best Plays This Year



Credit: Dean Tait/Hockey Shots

PITTSBURGH – Eat your heart out, Pittsburgh.

During the summer, the Pittsburgh Penguins couldn’t wait to send Mikael Granlund packing.

Last Trade Deadline, a different Penguins regime paid handsomely for Granlund, dealing a 2023 second-round pick to the Nashville Predators for the veteran center who had three years at $5 million AAV left on his contract. Pittsburgh, in the playoffs at the time, was counting on Granlund to provide a significant two-way boost.

Instead, and not all on Granlund, of course, but the Pens fell out of the post-season, and their big-name Deadline acquisition put up just one goal and six points in 21 games.

That’s how the 32-year-old, worth a premium pick in March, suddenly became a cap dump over the summer. To extract Pittsburgh’s 2024 first-round pick for reigning (but expensive) Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson, the San Jose Sharks had to absorb Granlund, Jan Rutta, and Mike Hoffman’s contracts.

But something happened on the way to the scrap heap.

In San Jose, Granlund has found the form that made him so enticing last Trade Deadline, and he’s been one of the few bright spots for the cellar-dwelling San Jose Sharks, leading the team with 31 assists. Granlund has 40 points in 51 games.

His game, in particular, has taken off since he’s come back from an early-season lower-body injury, suffered on opening night. Since Nov. 25, Granlund has paced the San Jose Sharks with 36 points in just 38 games.

It was on that day, a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks, that Granlund really announced himself this season, scoring a coast-to-coast goal that head coach David Quinn called ESPN-worthy.

“They didn’t have the best gaps. I had a little bit of speed,” Granlund told San Jose Hockey Now.

He went against the grain to beat goalie Casey DeSmith: “That was my plan the whole time.”

Granlund gives us a peek into his hockey IQ, talking about some of his best plays this season here…

Read the Full Article at NBC Sports Bay Area

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