Reports: Predators surprisingly bring back Mikael Granlund

Reports: Predators surprisingly bring back Mikael Granlund
Getty Images
1 Comment

Cross off one of the last big names on the list of NHL free agents. Mikael Granlund is off the market, and to a surprising (but familiar) location, as the Nashville Predators signed him for one year at $3.75 million.

(Note: the Predators didn’t confirm that one-year, $3.75M contract for Granlund. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported it first, while The Athletic’s Adam Vingan backed that up.)

Predators reportedly sign Mikael Granlund: one year, about $3.75 million

After the Kevin Fiala trade, Granlund struggled to make much of an impact. He closed 2018-19 with just a goal and four assists for five points in 16 games. Granlund rebounded slightly in 2019-20 (17 goals, 30 points in 63 games), but didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard. (That was particularly true during two quiet, short playoff runs with the Predators.)

Now, Granlund didn’t qualify as a full-fledged disaster for the Predators … unless you compared him to an ascendant Kevin Fiala.

Instead, Granlund’s been a bit drab, and middle-of-the-road. Beyond middling production, his five-on-five impact was merely palatable. Looking at his 2019-20 RAPM chart at Evolving Hockey almost forces out a yawn:

Heading into 2020 NHL Free Agency, many believed that Granlund could be a diamond in the rough. Yet, in many of those cases, people pictured a rebound thanks to a change of scenery.

Instead, Granlund and the Predators are giving this another try. That’s perfectly reasonable, really, as the Predators can hedge their bets a little bit. Losing Craig Smith could sting, especially if Eeli Tolvanen cannot take a step forward.

When you get this deep into an offseason, you almost take deeper discounts for granted. To some extent, a one-year deal in the $3.75M might not be a hyper-bargain.

Then again, Granlund carried a $5.75M cap hit and $6.5M salary in 2019-20, so this is at least a drop in price.

Perhaps the third time will be the charm for Granlund and the Predators, then?

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.