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Samwell9 - B+
A lot of people missed the fact that the Flames had even signed Derek Grant at all. It was Canada Day and it had already been announced that day that the Flames had signed one of the top forwards on the free agent market, Michael Frolik. But Frolik was not the Flames only move on the first day of free agency, as Brad Treliving also signed Derek Grant, a 25-year-old minor leaguer from the Ottawa Senators organization, to a 1-year, 2-way contract. The fact that they aggressively targeted signing an AHLer coming off a season where he had scored 38 points in 73 games was intriguing. Today, it looks like they were on to something.
Grant absolutely tore up the AHL this year. By all accounts, he was absolutely dominant and he definitely put up the numbers to back up that sentiment. He scored 27 goals in just 36 games, he was the driving force of the Stockton Heat, and an AHL All Star where he won fastest skater at the Skill Competition. He ended the year finishing 6th in the AHL in Goals scored, with 4 of the players ahead of him playing between 65 to 72 games compared to Grant's 36 (Meanwhile, Providence's Frank Vatrano had 36 goals in 36 games). Grant was one of the best players in the AHL.
Grant got a look in the NHL with the Flames for 9 games early in the season, playing on the 4th line with less gifted line mates, but he did not look out of place and had strong faceoff stats, something the Flames desperately need help with. He was sent back down to Stockton after producing 0 points in 9 games, but more so because he make waiver-eligible if he played one more game. Upon returning to Stockton, Grant proceeded to tear apart the competition in the AHL. A broken jaw prevented him from returning to the NHL sooner, but Grant made an appearance in 6 games late in the season, registering his first point as a Flame and getting higher quality minutes than earlier this season.
Grant is set to become an Unrestricted Free Agent on July 1st. Generally, there is not too much fuss about a 26-year-old forward who has 0 goals, 3 assists in 40 career NHL games; but there is a lot to like about Grant. His faceoff prowess along with his terrific scoring prowess in the AHL makes it worthwhile to bring him back and give him a shot at playing in the NHL. With more opportunity in the big leagues, Grant may be able to carry some of that success from the AHL to the NHL. It will be interesting to see whether he resigns, as Grant may believe he has a better opportunity to make the NHL elsewhere. Regardless of what happens in the future, Grant had by far the best season of his pro career and I am giving him a B+.
MarkParkinson14 - B
Derek Grant is a hard case to judge as a Flames Report Card candidate. His time with the club was so short it almost makes me want to give him an "I" for incomplete and that's not a knock on him. 15 games at the NHL is hard to give a full grade seeing he had such little ice time in the NHL. Grant's AHL numbers are extremely solid though and while that doesn't always lead to pro success, it does give the Flames some hope. Grant will need to be re-signed if the Flames ever hope to see that potential translate to the NHL game. Grant certainly didn't set the world on fire in his limited stint with the Flames, but he also didn't look lost. Calgary could always use extra Centers and in his 15 games with the Flames Grant was 55.5% at the face off dot. Again, not otherworldly, but he could be a valuable piece if the Flames choose to bring him back. Lots of "potentials" and lots of "ifs," that's the hard part with grading a young player who got limited NHL time, but his AHL stats certainly should peek your interest. B
FlamesMM - B+
Grant proved this season that he could light it up in the AHL however that skill didn't translate the to NHL leaving questions to be asked about Grant. He's an unrestricted free agent but when his AHL point today is extrapolated over an 82 game season, he would've had 103 points. Grant's lack of production may have been that he had been slotted into a 4th line position during his callups to the Flames, which didn't give him the opportunity to flourish with more offensively gifted linemates. Grant at the very least should deserve another one year deal even if he doesn't crack the Flames roster out of training camp, he seems to be a solid player to bring up in case of injuries. For what I was expecting of Grant this season he earns a A- but his failure to translate his scoring prowess to the NHL leaves him at a B+.
BizzleJ - C
I just gave Grant a C grade because I honestly didn't hear enough or know enough about him to give him a good grade. I do know he had a pretty decent stint in the American Hockey League. Aside from that I didn't hear anything good about him or anything bad so I am sticking with an average grade of C.
HockeyGoalieEh - F
Being that this is a Flames report card and not a Heat report card, I excluded Grant's numbers with Stockton, so admittedly this is a little bit off from everyone else.
Grant had a fifteen game sample size in the N.H.L. and it was an unmitigated disaster in every facet of hockey. While the Corsi was okay, at even strength, he had zero points, was out for eight goals against, was a negative possession player, and posted a worse modified xGF% than the much maligned Dennis Wideman. One would think that in 141 minutes a forward would at least be able to notch something - a secondary assist, anything, but that wasn't the case.
He had a very small power play sample only playing about five minutes. While they didn't score here, the Flames looked okay with him out on the ice in this aspect, but again that was only for five minutes out of his 163 minutes. One would think that should he make the roster he wouldn't have a roll here anyway.
The small sample size on the penalty kill wasn't very good either. The team averaged 13.21 more goals against per 60 minutes with Grant on the ice than they did with him off it, though that was a bit unlucky. Still, the expected differential of 2.8 more goals per 60 minutes on the penalty kill is not anything worth writing home about and should he carry a roll on the team one would want him to kill penalties.
Grant's performance in the A.H.L. was great, but on the N.H.L. level he was horrid only obtaining one secondary assist on an empty net goal while the Flames were already up by two. At 26, he had the opportunity to show that he might be able to break in with an N.H.L. team and he absolutely blew it. His sample effort during his time with the Ottawa Senators in years past was considerably better so the jury is still out and it's a very low risk, high reward proposition for re-signing him, but last year's performance puts him as a guy that can carry an A.H.L. team but is best served as a 13th forward at best at the highest level.