Nashville Predators: Instant Reaction to Mikael Granlund Returning

Nashville Predators center Mikael Granlund (64) Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators center Mikael Granlund (64) Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

There’s been rumblings for a few weeks now that the Nashville Predators weren’t yet done in making roster additions before the season starts.

Just when you thought the Nashville Predators were going to go into the new season with the roster the way it is, they make another eye-opening move.

Mikael Granlund will be coming back to the Predators for another season, as first reported by Elliotte Friedman:

Granlund went unsigned throughout the entire offseason after the Predators declined on giving him a new contract initially.

This reported deal of $3.75M could easily end up being a bargain when we look back on it. If Granlund plays really well, then the Predators could come away with more confidence in him for a longer deal.

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I come away fairly surprised that someone didn’t take a flyer on Granlund up to this point. He still has a lot of enticing offensive skills that can help a team’s lineup.

Now the question arises of where does he fit in this current Predators lineup? Does he go right back into the top-six of the lineup and slotted once again with Matt Duchene?

Many roster projections had Eeli Tolvanen fitting onto the second line, but the return of Granlund certainly makes you wonder how it will affect Tolvanen’s place in the lineup.

Despite the Granlund signing, I still think Tolvanen deserves a starting role to open the season. As for Granlund, I’m sticking him on the third line initially.

The deal itself is low-risk and a wise one for the Predators. Just a one-year deal to see if Granlund can show any resemblance of the player he was before coming to Nashville from the Minnesota Wild.

Last season Granlund managed a meager 30 points in 63 games, but did show an awakening of sorts towards the tail end of the season. He went on a stretch of seven goals in 12 games from mid-January to mid-February.

However, Granlund faded once again and didn’t show much of anything in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers as the Predators were eliminated by the Arizona Coyotes.

This move could end up being a very successful one if Granlund even shows half of what he was in Minnesota. He can replace the offense that was lost by the departures of Craig Smith, Nick Bonino and Kyle Turris.

It will be very interesting to see where Granlund emerges in the starting lineup for the season-opener.