Brian McGrattan

Eddie Lack retires from hockey Morning Skate
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PHT Morning Skate: Eddie Lack retires; Progress post-pandemic?

Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• William Douglas mourns Marlowe Stoudamire, who passed away at age 43 because of COVID-19. Stoudamire made a big impact in Detroit, including helping to create the “Learn, Play, Score” program. That $1M program helped bring the sport to about 30,000 children in Detroit. Heartbreaking for sure, but Stoudamire clearly made a big impact on the sport and on his city. (NHL.com)

Eddie Lack retires

• Eddie Lack announced his retirement from hockey with a really wonderful four-part series of videos. For one thing, there’s plenty of humor involved. Kudos to Lack for poking fun at himself for allowing a long-distance goal from Brian McGrattan (!), and Roberto Luongo for poking fun at Lack for a stain.

The thread is particularly worth your time for Canucks fans and/or Swedish hockey fans:

It’s sad to see Eddie Lack retire, being that he’s only 32. As Lack said, though, hip issues weren’t making life any easier, so he’s moving on to a career in real estate.

Eddie Lack last played for the AHL’s Binghamton Devils in 2018-19, and his final NHL action came with the New Jersey Devils in 2017-18. So, yeah, it’s fair if your immediate reaction was: “Wait, didn’t Eddie Lack already retire?”

Other NHL/hockey headlines

• The Globe & Mail’s Morgan Campbell takes a look at how the NHL and other leagues might approach things post-pandemic. Could there be some silver linings? Campbell wonders, for instance, if leagues use this as a catalyst to improve ways of experiencing events even while de-emphasizing the in-arena experience. Organizations/leagues who are spry might be most adept at “taking lemons and making lemonade.” (The Globe & Mail)

• Kevin Fiala was never as happy or confident in hockey as he was late in 2019-20 — until the coronavirus pause happened. Even so, he believes that red-hot player we saw wasn’t merely an aberration. Instead, Fiala believes that’s simply what he is now. (Star-Tribune)

• Claude Giroux explains that the Flyers are trying to be positive, rather than frustrated, with the pause. (The Hockey News)

• High-end 2020 NHL Draft prospect Quinton Byfield is only 17. Yet, despite his age and the interruption, Byfield aims for an immediate jump to the NHL next season. He certainly has the size to play with the big boys at 6-foot-4. (TSN)

• In hindsight, Seth Jones made a wise decision in undergoing surgery rather than leaning on natural healing. Thanks to the hiatus, Jones won’t need to rush back, either. This situation is especially advantageous for 2019-20, but maybe also overall? The Blue Jackets can take heart in at least one thing working out well for them with this pause. (1st Ohio Battery)

• Projecting where the Penguins would be at if the season didn’t get paused. (Pensburgh)

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.

Beefing up: Coyotes ink John Scott

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The Pacific Division continued to get tougher on Friday in the wake of Milan Lucic’s arrival in Los Angeles.

The Anaheim Ducks signed Brian McGrattan while the Arizona Coyotes added tough guy John Scott on a one-year deal.

Scott spent the 2014-15 season with the San Jose Sharks scoring career-high three goals and four points to go along with 87 penalty minutes in 38 games. The 32-year-old has a history with Coyotes’ assistant GM Darcy Regier as the two were together in Buffalo.

According to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie, Scott’s deal is a one-way contract worth $575,000.

Arizona also signed Steve Downie to a one-year deal on July 1.

The Canucks added Brandon Prust in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens.

“L.A. got tougher in bringing in Lucic. Other teams got tougher,” Canucks GM Jim Benning said on Thursday when discussing the Prust acquisition. “I don’t want our younger players getting picked on this year. I want them to go out, be able to play and feel comfortable.

“With (Derek) Dorsett and Prust in the lineup, they’re going to create a safe working environment for our young players.”

Dorsett (17) and Prust (16) were second and third in fighting majors last season, according to Hockeyfights.com. Colorado’s Cody McLeod led the league with 19.

Downie was 14th in fighting majors last season with eight.

Headed back to Anaheim: McGrattan signs one-year deal with the Ducks

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The Anaheim Ducks added some toughness to their lineup on Friday.

The club has signed unrestricted free agent forward Brian McGrattan to a one-year deal.

McGrattan briefly spent time in the Anaheim organization during the 2010-11 season, when he was traded to the Ducks from the Boston Bruins. He appeared in 20 games with the Syracuse Crunch – Anaheim’s AHL affiliate at the time.

The 33-year-old has appeared in 317 career NHL games with the Ottawa Senators, Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames and Nashville Predators scoring 10 goals and 27 points to go along with 609 penalty minutes.

McGrattan appeared in eight games with the Calgary Flames during the 2014-15 season, registering four penalty minutes and a minus-2 rating. He also played in 16 AHL games with the Adirondack Flames collecting six points and 25 penalty minutes.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder was originally a fourth-round selection (104th overall) by the L.A. Kings at the 1999 NHL Draft.

Flames’ McGrattan: ‘Quitting isn’t in my vocab’

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After being healthy scratched in 14 straight games Calgary Flames enforcer Brian McGrattan was placed on waivers Friday. He cleared on Saturday and was assigned to the American Hockey League’s Adirondack Flames.

The 33-year-old has four penalty minutes and a minus-2 rating in eight games this season. He has not played since Dec. 6.

McGrattan spoke to the Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis following his demotion Saturday.

“I’ve been through a lot harder things in my life. Being scratched or sent down is kind of peanuts,” he said. “Quitting isn’t in my vocab”

McGrattan is just the latest enforcer to be waived and assigned to the AHL. Earlier this month, the Vancouver Canucks waived Tom Sestito. In October Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren were waived and assigned to the AHL by the Maple Leafs.

McGrattan isn’t sure the move is a smart one.

“They might be playing with fire taking big guys out – you never know the way the game is going to go,” he said. “Might see more dirty hits”

McGrattan last played in the AHL with the Milwaukee Admirals, the minor league affiliate of the Nashville Predators, in 2012-13.

In 317 career NHL games McGrattan has 10 goals and 27 points to go along with 609 penalty minutes.

Flames’ McGrattan clears waivers (Updated)

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Calgary Flames tough guy Brian McGrattan cleared waivers on Saturday.

The 33-year-old has been a healthy scratch in 34 games this season including the past 14 straight. McGrattan last played on Dec. 6 and has dressed in just eight games this season for the Flames.

Calgary placed him on waivers on Friday.

The forward has four penalty minutes and a minus-2 rating while averaging less than seven minutes a night in ice time this season.

It’s a significant drop off from last season where McGrattan dressed in 76 games recording eight points, a minus-4 rating and 100 penalty minutes.

Update: McGrattan has been assigned to the Adirondack Flames of the American Hockey League.

McGrattan last played in the AHL with the Milwaukee Admirals during the 2012-13 season.