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Key to Granlund Comeback…Is Defense? (+)

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Credit: AP Photo/Mike Carlson

Is the key to a Mikael Granlund comeback…on defense?

That seems counter-intuitive, considering Granlund’s reputation as first and foremost a playmaker. The center-winger had a career-high 53 assists, going toward 64 points, in 2021-22. He slumped, however, to 31 assists and 41 points for the Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins last season.

So for the San Jose Sharks, the offensive side of things would seem to be the greatest area of concern with the Granlund. And of course, that matters. But of equal concern, I believe? The 31-year-old’s drop in defensive impact.

At his best, Granlund is a true two-way force. For example, just in 2021-22, he led all Nashville forwards in ice-time. He was a go-to guy on a playoff-bound team in all situations, including the power play and penalty kill.

It might be easy to tell if Granlund has found his game offensively, it could be as simple as counting goals and assists. But how can we tell if he’s back defensively?

SPORTLOGiQ has defensive micro-stats from Granlund over the last two seasons that tell us what San Jose Sharks fans should look for from him.

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