NHL commerce grades: Hard to see Penguins’ plan in Mikael Granlund acquisition

The commerce

Penguins get: Forward Mikael Granlund

Predators get: 2023 second-round choose

Sean Gentille: The “slammed window” analogy goes to be common in Pittsburgh tonight, and that’s comprehensible. Falling behind within the Eastern Conference arms race, then making an attempt to repair two years’ value of cap mismanagement in three days solely so as to add a participant as across-the-board ineffective and uneconomical as Granlund is certain 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 odds that they’re pretty much as good, and as wholesome, as they’ve been this season once more are … slim. Plus, years of going for it below Jim Rutherford, then overpaying supporting casts below Ron Hextall, have shrunk the margins. Still, even after the trade-a-palooza of the final week, it felt just like the Penguins nonetheless had a path to relevance within 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. Adding one of many Canucks’ big-ticket forwards — J.T. Miller or Brock Boeser — would’ve been much less useful. They’re good, however overpaid. Bit of a harder promote than Chychrun, however win-now groups need to make robust calls.

And if that failed, hey, they’d at the least gotten out from below 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 method of the group from 2005-2021 — may’ve at the least been sellable.

Instead, they locked themselves right into a participant who appears designed in a lab to repair actually none of their issues. Granlund is 31. 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 house 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 high, immovable items within the center and irrelevant items on the backside. They’re worse right this moment than they had been yesterday, and so they’ll most likely be worse tomorrow. That’s it. Maybe the window slammed. Maybe it gently shut.

Or possibly we must always transfer on to a different analogy: the boiling frog.

Penguins: F
Predators: A+

Dom Luszczyszyn: It’s by no means a very good factor when the trending matter on Twitter after a commerce is straight away #FireTeamGM, however Penguins followers have each proper to be offended with Hextall’s newest deal.

As the remainder of the Eastern Conference tries to one-up the opposite in an epic arms race, the Penguins answered with a Nerf gun. An excellent soaker. A slingshot. Nothing that can truly matter when it comes time to face one of many precise beasts of the East, a battle the Penguins weren’t geared up for earlier than the commerce and stay ill-equipped for after.

Granlund was once a incredible participant and it’s doable he can ship in a lesser function because the group’s third-line heart. Possible, however not very seemingly. His current 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 yr. That’s unhealthy sufficient, however it’s not like that’s a large departure from his scoring the previous couple of years: 1.57, 1.58, 1.38. Over the final three years, he ranks 256th amongst forwards sandwiched between Kyle Palmieri and Sammy Blais. Not nice firm.

Unfortunately, that’s not the worst half. There’s the opposite problem that at five-on-five the Predators solely earned 45 p.c of the anticipated and precise objectives this yr with Granlund on the ice. Both are among the many group’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 points with Granlund are totally on defence the place the Predators permit 3.28 anticipated objectives towards per 60 with him on the ice, 0.44 worse relative to teammates and one of many worst marks in the whole league. Offensively the group scores 0.49 fewer objectives per 60 with Granlund on the ice. At each ends, he’s been a wreck.

Unfortunately, that’s additionally not the worst half.

The worst half is that this isn’t a one-year mistake: it’s one that can linger for 2 extra seasons after this. Granlund, 31, seemingly solely will get worse from right here on out. That the Predators had been capable of in some way get a second for a deeply damaging 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 completely baffling determination to spend what little house 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 may very well be the ultimate nail within the coffin in no matter final likelihood Pittsburgh needed to make a run within the Crosby, Malkin, Letang period.

Penguins: D-
Predators: A+

(Photo: Joe Sargent / NHLI through Getty Images)

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