Markus Granlund a Swiss Army Knife in the Canucks Middle Six

J.D. Burke
December 19 2016 12:50PM

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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin - USA TODAY Sports

When the Canucks acquired Markus Granlund at last year's trade deadline, it was his well-rounded defensive game that caught their eye. A season later he's grabbing everyone's attention with crafty setups like the one that levelled the score in Friday's contest with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

That assist was Granlund's 13th point in his 31st game of the season. Prorated over a full season, that's a 35 point pace. In today's NHL, that's second line production.

Granlund's been an everything man for the Canucks. He's produced consistently on a line marred by moving parts and restoration projects. That versatility is something Granlund's cognizant of; something he takes a great deal of pride in bringing to the lineup.

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NHLN Notebook: Tallon back in charge, Tortarella's new beginning, and L.A.'s goaltending issue

Christian Pagnani
December 19 2016 12:25PM

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Dale Tallon is back in charge of making roster decisions in Florida, as the Panthers have apparently shuffled their front office yet again. John Tortorella picked up his 500th career win, and based on the way his season has gone in Columbus, he could very quickly be shaking the negative narrative that has followed him around since his disastrous tenure in Vancouver.  

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Connor Brown is an average depth forward and that's fantastic

Ryan Hobart
December 19 2016 07:51AM

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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

Recently, Connor Brown has been fitting in nicely for the Maple Leafs. It seems like an appropriate time to talk about his performance so far in more detail. He has played all 29 games for the Maple Leafs so far and has seen a lot of faith put in him by Mike Babcock.

Despite being a forward that didn't have to go through waivers, among a sea of depth forwards that the Maple Leafs had in training camp, Connor Brown was able to find a role on this Maple Leafs team. It started on the 4th line with Holland and Martin, grew into a 3rd line role with Nazem Kadri, and now is partially becoming a shared role on Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman's 1st/2nd line (the line TOI is a little muddled) with William Nylander.

There was a pretty strong feeling heading into this year that Brown was going to win the uphill battle of making the roster, knowing how Mike Babcock lauded over his stint with the Maple Leafs last season. Here is his TLN prospect profile written in the summer (by yours truly) for some context. Now that he's here, he's making waves.

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It's time to end the Lucic/McDavid experiment

Jonathan Willis
December 18 2016 06:30PM

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We’re at the point now where I’m starting to wonder what Milan Lucic has to do before he gets bumped off Connor McDavid’s line. McDavid now has just a single even-strength assist over his last eight games, and has seen a revolving door at right wing. Yet on the port side, Lucic remains untouchable, even as he goes deeper into yet another even-strength scoring slump.

Why not try something different?

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Long live the 3M line; here's what makes it so great

Mike FAIL
December 18 2016 08:00AM

Everyone should love the 3M line. If you don't, which would be a confusing thought, then I can only assume something happened in your life that prevents you from ever loving anything again. Teams hate playing against them being they are a combination of physicality (thank you Matthew Tkachuk) and two-way prowess anchored by Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik.

They're a line that the Calgary Flames have desperately needed for several seasons because they do exactly what you need them to do in this current era of the NHL: they drive play and they find ways to suppress the opposition. 

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