Over the next six days the Straight will analyze what might be done with each of the Vancouver Canucks’ six major restricted free agents. In the second instalment, we look at Markus Granlund’s fate.
Long car rides. Waiting for the doctor. Watching Markus Granlund play hockey. With some caveats, these things are usually quite boring. Sure, there’s the odd time when you get into a raging argument on the road, or overhear someone’s weirdly intriguing thing they’re stuck in the waiting room for. And the occasion that Granlund scores goals in back to back games, which happened twice this season.
But otherwise, Granlund is the definition of a low-event hockey player. At this point, his 19-goal season two years ago (aided in no small part by the Sedins) is the obvious exception to the rule.
He’s settled into being a bottom-six role player for the Canucks that coach Travis Green trusts to do almost everything on the ice. It explains why the bench boss utilizes him on both the powerplay and the penalty kill, and at both the centre and wing positions.
The problem? That Granlund doesn’t do anything particularly well. The Canucks’ bottom six is probably in line for a fair of turnover, and it’s not clear there’s a space for Granlund among the mess.
It’ll cost the Canucks $1.475 million to qualify Granlund on a one-year deal, and he’ll become an unrestricted free agent next summer if that’s the case.
So, what’s going to happen?
What the player will want:
Well, he might want a tad above the actual qualifying offer. His agent will make the argument that his profile as a player compares to forwards like the Chicago Blackhawks’ Marcus Kruger, who makes over $3 million a year.
What the team will offer:
That will likely be a non-starter for the Canucks. Cheaper forwards who do what Granlund does can almost definitely be found on the free agent market, if the team is smart about it. Vancouver can’t go above a qualifying offer (if they even do that), even with Antoine Roussel out until December. The Canucks could do well to rejuvenate their bottom six, and letting Granlund walk would be a start to that.
It’s tough, but we can see the Canucks qualifying Granlund, even if they end up trying to move him early on in the season.
Even though he inspires little to no excitement, he’s still something of an asset as a full-time NHLer, and the Canucks aren’t exactly in the position to let assets walk away for nothing.
Previous RFAs: Nikolay Goldobin
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