Derek Grant has been named Stockton Heat's Most Valuable Player this season. And for good reason.
In 36 games with the Heat this year, Grant has earned himself 45 points. Not bad for a guy who signed with the Calgary Flames as a free agent in 2015 after being drafted by the Ottawa Senators in 2008 and played only 25 games in the NHL.
Since signing with the Flames, Grant has notched 27 goals and 18 assists with the Flames AHL affiliate, Stockton Heat, until he was hurt by an errant puck in practice and, as a result, was sidelined with a broken jaw for about 6 weeks.
But Grant came back bigger and stronger than ever after his healing time, which he spent a short time eating only liquified foods. He quickly impressed Coach Hartley with his physical presence and helping to create plays for his linemates. In spite of wearing a face guard to protect his jaw during play, Grant generated a lot of buzz as he was bumped around from line to line with the Flames.
In the last 3 regular season games, Grant was on a line with Brandon Bollig and Matt Stajan, where Grant made an impact, giving both linemates good chances on net. It was the game against the Arizona Coyotes when Grant was on the top line with Sean Monahan and Hunter Shinkaruk that he seemed the most comfortable and productive. The aggressive forward earned his first assist during his 16:45 time on ice. He's made a good case for himself to remain with the NHL Flames next season, now we just have to sit back and wait to see what happens during the off-season.
Congrats, Grant, on being named the Heat's MVP!