Predators 2019-20 Season Grades: Mikael Granlund Surges Late

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - APRIL 20: Mikael Granlund #64 of the Nashville Predators fires a shot against the Dallas Stars during Game Five of the Western Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena on April 20, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - APRIL 20: Mikael Granlund #64 of the Nashville Predators fires a shot against the Dallas Stars during Game Five of the Western Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena on April 20, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /
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Much like the Nashville Predators team as a whole, the season for Mikael Granlund was a rollercoaster that was peaking at just the right time.

With the 2019-20 season on an indefinite hold, we’re jumping right into season grades for the Nashville Predators.

Mikael Granlund got off to a rocky start with the Predators last season, and came into 2019-20 looking to return to form of when he was in Minnesota.

The Predators really need Granlund to perform on a level of a top-six player. That’s what he’s capable of and that’s the skills he brings to the table. Seeing him on the third or fourth line was disheartening, but sometimes understood.

Stumbling out of the gate

Granlund was a frustrating case to open the season. I personally had high hopes for him to come out strong after having a full offseason to get acclimated with the Predators and Peter Laviolette‘s system.

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Unfortunately that didn’t happen initially, and eventually Laviolette was fired in early January.

Since then, Granlund has 16 of his 30 points on the season. Not Earth-shattering, but definitely an improvement.

Fittingly enough, Granlund scored a goal in the first game under John Hynes, although that game was kind of a wash considering Hynes didn’t even have a chance to lead a practice with the team before this game against Boston.

Granlund definitely has looked like a different player than the one that was playing when Laviolette was behind the bench. How much of that is coincidence and how much of that is due to a change in systems and offensive philosophies is yet to be determined.

The offensive skill set of Granlund leaves his ceiling very high, and leaves you expecting him to have higher point outputs than just 30 points in 63 games as he has produced this season.

The resurgence after Laviolette

When judging Granlund’s overall season, he still has a lot of catching up to do and probably won’t get a chance to do that as the season likely will end without being fully completed.

However, I do think Granlund did enough in his recent outburst and uptick in production to make a strong case to be re-signed by the team. He was a top trade block option going into the deadline, but the Predators decided to hold onto their top assets.

You can even tag me as someone who thought the Predators should entertain selling him, but we all have a right to have our opinions changed based on new results.

I also have a strong belief that Granlund had some bad puck luck, as many like to call it. It’s a real thing. You can be doing all the right things on the ice, and still not be rewarded in the box score.

Granlund is posting some of his best possession metrics of his career this season, including both Corsi and Fenwick.

Then you look at some of the deeper statistics like his offensive zone start time, which is the highest it’s been since all the way back in 2014-15. He’s clearly doing some things very well and effective.

He was showing a very strong rebound in his season before it came to an abrupt stoppage. It leaves me very optimistic that he’s going to return to being a 60-point scorer, and definitely a 50-plus point scorer at the very worst.

Granlund has had some big moments this season, most notably scoring with less than second on the clock in regulation to tie it, and then quickly sink the game-winner in overtime.

That critical goal from Granlund might be the difference-maker in getting the Predators into the playoffs if indeed the season resumes in the playoffs later this summer.

B. . C, RW. Nashville Predators. MIKAEL GRANLUND

I can’t give Granlund the grade I want to give him based on what I think he’s going to do in the future. I can only go off of the previous season, and he was virtually non-existent early on.

With that said, I liked what I was seeing from Granlund post-Laviolette and think he has new life here under Hynes. He’s just barely 28-years-old and his ceiling remains high.

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The Predators should do everything they can to retain him for at least a short-term deal if possible, and hopefully he continue to fit in nicely in the top-six.