Photo by Anaheim Ducks
The Anaheim Ducks reacquire forward Derek Grant in exchange for Joseph Blandisi. It seems to be like he is playing as he never left to be a part of the Penguins organization.
Here is what the Ducks shared on January 22nd. Here is the article “Grant Enjoying Second Go-Round with Ducks” by Kyle Shohara. [I give full credit to Kyle Shohara and the Anaheim Ducks for sharing on Derek Grant rejoining the Ducks organization]
Sitting at his stall inside the Ducks locker room at THE RINKS – Anaheim ICE on Tuesday afternoon, Derek Grant let out a hearty chuckle. He was at the far corner of the room with a handful of teammates telling stories, sharing laughs and enjoying the company of one another. Even though he didn’t start the season here, it feels like he never left.
It’s not often you see a player traded back to his former club so soon after moving away, but such was the case with Grant, who was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Joseph Blandisi last Wednesday. At the time of the trade, Grant had five points (2g/3a) and a +3 rating in 25 games with Pittsburgh, but he found himself watching games from the press box as a healthy scratch when players started returning from injury.
He didn’t make his Penguins and season debut until October 25. He was waived during the first week of the season and played five games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League before he was recalled in mid-October. Grant admits he thought there was a chance he’d be moved earlier in the season. “I thought maybe early on, but we also had some injuries,” Grant said. “I got into the lineup and was playing a decent amount, but the guys came back. When you’re in and out of the lineup, you never know. It’s one of those things when you get the call, you’re surprised even if you thought it was coming.”
Grant was in Arizona with the Penguins when he got the phone call. With the Ducks in St. Paul, Minnesota for a game the next night, he didn’t have a lot of time to let it sink in. He caught an early flight and made it in time to make his Ducks debut. Grant played the final three games of the road trip, and scored in the club’s 3-2 victory in New Jersey – his second game back with the Ducks.
“It definitely feels like I’m back home,” the veteran center said with a smile. “It’s always comfortable to come back to a place you’ve been. I was only away for such a short time. The group has changed over a little bit, but it’s still nice to be familiar with the staff and the city. It makes the change a little easier.”
He played the best hockey of his career last season with the Ducks, setting personal bests in points (24), goals (12), assists (12), plus/minus (+3), games played (66) and power-play goals (3). He also finished the 2017-18 campaign ranked tied for fifth among team leaders in power-play goals and tied for seventh in goals.
Used primarily as a checking center last season, Grant is being deployed in a more offensive role this time around. He’s found chemistry with two rookies – wingers Max Jones and Troy Terry – and the trio has been one of the team’s best lines in the three games since Grant joined the Ducks.
“It’s been good,” he said on his time with Jones and Terry. “They’re two skilled guys and smart players, too. You can see their hockey IQ. We’ve found chemistry early. They’re easy guys to play with. Jonesy, for his first couple games in the NHL, he’s been good. He’s been poised and confident with the puck. If we can keep going and build off the last few games, we’ll hopefully get better.”
Though he’s still only 28, Grant is the “old man” of the three, with 20-year-old Jones and 21-year-old Terry. It’s a stark contrast to his days with the Penguins when he skated with the NHL’s oldest active player, 42-year-old Matt Cullen.
Grant has been a mentor for the two rookies, who enjoy playing with him. “Derek is so good at both ends of the ice,” said Terry, who scored his first career NHL goal in the club’s victory in New Jersey. “Me and Jonesy are going to make mistakes here and there, but he’s so reliable. He’s always there to back us up if something happens. He’s a really good player. He’s good down low in the offensive zone. Every time we get back to the bench, we’re talking all the time. He’s been very patient with us. We’re going to make mistakes. He’s excited for the opportunity to mentor us and be there for us. He’s enjoying it, too. It’s been fun.”
When the Ducks were in need of an insurance goal, Grant buried a feed from Terry into the far corner of the net. The goal stood up as the game-winner. “That was an elite shot,” said Terry. “He can finish. It’s always nice when you have someone who scores those because it makes you feel better about yourself, and it’s fun for the line.”
Jones, who made his NHL debut on January 17 in Grant’s first game back, says he’s learned a lot from him over the course of the past three games. “He knows teams more than we do,” Jones said. “He tells us how certain guys play and what certain guys do on the ice. Every time we’re in the offensive zone, we feed off each other, and then we’ll go back to the bench and talk. He’ll let us know what he sees and we’ll let him know what we see. I think that’s why we’re successful because we listen to each other. Grant is a veteran who knows where to pick his spots on the ice. He knows where the puck is going.”
[Once again I give full credit to Kyle Shohara and the Anaheim Ducks for sharing on Derek Grant rejoining the Ducks organization]
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Source: Kyle Shohara- Grant Enjoying Second Go-Round with Ducks
Photos by The Anaheim Ducks