NHL trade grades: Hard to see Penguins’ plan in Mikael Granlund acquisition
Penguins get: Ahead Mikael Granlund
Predators get: 2023 second-round decide
Sean Gentille: The “slammed window” analogy goes to be in style in Pittsburgh tonight, and that’s comprehensible. Falling behind in the Japanese Convention arms race, then attempting to repair two years’ value of cap mismanagement in three days solely to add a participant as across-the-board ineffective and uneconomical as Granlund is sure to freak some people out. It ought to.
See, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are solely going to get so many bites on the apple. The chances that they’re nearly as good, and as wholesome, as they’ve been this season once more are … slim. Plus, years of going for it underneath Jim Rutherford, then overpaying supporting casts underneath Ron Hextall, have shrunk the margins. Nonetheless, even after the trade-a-palooza of the final week, it felt just like the Penguins nonetheless had a path to relevance in the East.
They had been in on Jakob Chychrun. He wouldn’t have mounted their bottom-six drawback, however he’d have given them a second legit No. 1 defenseman to pair with Kris Letang. And Chychrun is 24. Including one of many Canucks’ big-ticket forwards — J.T. Miller or Brock Boeser — would’ve been much less useful. They’re good, however overpaid. Little bit of a harder promote than Chychrun, however win-now groups have to make powerful calls.
And if that failed, hey, they’d a minimum of gotten out from underneath Kasperi Kapanen’s contract for subsequent season. Sitting out a season as a purchaser — ridiculous as it will’ve appeared, and antithetical as it will’ve been to the strategy of the group from 2005-2021 — might’ve a minimum of been sellable.
As an alternative, they locked themselves right into a participant who appears designed in a lab to repair actually none of their issues. Granlund is 30. He’s small. His level manufacturing is poor. His results at five-on-five are worse. He makes $5 million. He makes that quantity for 2 seasons after this one.
Poof goes the cap area for this season. Poof goes the pliability for subsequent. Now, Hextall’s Penguins are — as ever — locked right into a payroll sheet with irreplaceable items on the prime, immovable items in the center and irrelevant items on the backside. They’re worse as we speak than they had been yesterday, and so they’ll most likely be worse tomorrow. That’s it. Perhaps the window slammed. Perhaps it gently shut.
Or possibly we must always transfer on to one other analogy: the boiling frog.
Dom Luszczyszyn: It’s by no means a superb factor when the trending matter on Twitter after a trade is instantly #FireTeamGM, however Penguins followers have each proper to be indignant with Hextall’s newest deal.
As the remainder of the Japanese Convention tries to one-up the opposite in an epic arms race, the Penguins answered with a Nerf gun. A brilliant soaker. A slingshot. Nothing that may truly matter when it comes time to face one of many precise beasts of the East, a battle the Penguins weren’t outfitted for earlier than the trade and stay ill-equipped for after.
Granlund used to be a unbelievable participant and it’s potential he can ship in a lesser position because the staff’s third-line middle. Attainable, however not very seemingly. His latest outcomes have been so woeful that it’s mind-boggling that he was the goal.
At five-on-five, Granlund has scored 1.33 factors per 60 this 12 months. That’s unhealthy sufficient, but it surely’s not like that’s an enormous departure from his scoring the previous couple of years: 1.57, 1.58, 1.38. Over the past three years, he ranks 256th amongst forwards sandwiched between Kyle Palmieri and Sammy Blais. Not nice firm.
Sadly, that’s not the worst half. There’s the opposite situation that at five-on-five the Predators solely earned 45 % of the anticipated and precise objectives this 12 months with Granlund on the ice. Each are among the many staff’s worst marks and that’s regardless of spending most of his minutes with Filip Forsberg, Matt Duchene and Nino Niederreiter. All three did a lot better with out him. The problems with Granlund are totally on defence the place the Predators permit 3.28 anticipated objectives in opposition to per 60 with him on the ice, 0.44 worse relative to teammates and one of many worst marks in all the league. Offensively the staff scores 0.49 fewer objectives per 60 with Granlund on the ice. At each ends, he’s been a wreck.
Sadly, that’s additionally not the worst half.
The worst half is that this isn’t a one-year mistake: it’s one that may linger for 2 extra seasons after this. Granlund, 31, seemingly solely will get worse from right here on out. That the Predators had been in a position to one way or the other get a second for a deeply adverse worth asset is an absolute coup, a masterclass from David Poile’s farewell tour. That’s nothing however an absolute win for them.
For the Penguins, it’s a fully baffling determination to spend what little area they’ve on their roster for an previous and inefficient participant. it’s not only a loss. It’s not only a unhealthy grade. It could possibly be the ultimate nail in the coffin in no matter final likelihood Pittsburgh had to make a run in the Crosby, Malkin, Letang period.
(Photograph: Joe Sargent / NHLI through Getty Photos)