The NHL Trade deadline is always an interesting period. Fireworks and rumors headline the chaotic weeks leading up to that fateful clock-strike, but the Flyers opted to go with a more subtle approach. When the Flyers sent Phantoms’ fan-favorite Kyle Criscuolo to the Ducks along with a fourth-round pick in exchange for Derek Grant, there were some raised eyebrows. A 29-year old center who would likely be competing on the third-line felt like a solid addition, but did the Flyers make the right call?
We’re only a few short games into his tenure with the Flyers, but Grant is already showing the world exactly why the front office pursued his services. With 4 points through his first 3 games, Grant has injected some offensive flair into a line that has seen some frequent changes this season.
Grant was flown in overnight at the deadline and dropped straight into action to face the San Jose Sharks.
“It was good.” Grant told reporters after the win. “You’re running on adrenaline and nervous excitement to start. I started to settle in as the game went on. It is always nice to get the first one over with.”
“I think it is always tough with new linemates. You are gripping your stick a little bit obviously in the first game. As the game went on, I thought we got better and just looking to build off that. “
That rust didn’t take long to shake off. Grant has quickly settled into his role on the third line and chemistry is soaring.
That was clearly visible than in last night’s win over the Capitals. In a showdown that would go a long way in deciding just how close the Metropolitan title race would become, this was always going to be a clash of giants. Grant, who had 49 NHL appearances before the trade, picked up two assists for his second consecutive two-point game – his seventh this season. He also co-led the team with four hits.
Just a few days before that, Grant netted his first goal as a Flyer in a convincing win over the Rangers, also going 7-for-10 on faceoffs.
Grant had played in 49 games prior to the trade that season, tallying 20 points and scoring four game-winning goals. The fact that he’s had two multi-point games since joining the Flyers just a few heartbeats ago is beyond impressive.
With the injury to JVR, Grant will now get a chance to mentor rookie LW and former first-round pick Joel Farabee when the Flyers clash with the Hurricanes later this evening at the Wells Fargo Center. A unique opportunity and one that he’s bound to relish.
It’s early days, but with a cheap contract ($700k) and a chance to prove to the coaching staff that he deserves a long-term spot in Vigneault’s system, Grant is leaving fans and coaches alike purring.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports