Senators Rookie Profile: Derek Grant

This is my sixth profile of a Senator rookie.

Derek Grant, C/LW, Contract: 0.605/14 (RFA)
4-119 2008 (Murray), 6’3, Shoots L, YOB 1990, Abbotsford, BC
2008-09 BCHL 35-25-35-60 45pim
2009-10 NCAA 38-12-18-30 10pim
2010-11 NCAA 38-8-25-33 44pim
2010-11 AHL 14-1-5-6 0pim

The pick Bryan Murray acquired the previous year (trading away three late 2007 picks to Tampa), Derek Grant was selected ten picks after Andre Petersson and both signed ELC’s within a month of each other.  When Grant was drafted he was a big, lanky player coming off a strong rookie campaign in the BCHL where he finished second in scoring behind Taylor Stefishen (drafted by Nashville, but now playing in the CIS).  Central Scouting ranked him 40th among North American skaters, with one scout saying “He’s got so much potential ahead of him that he might be better than (Camrose center Joe) Colborne” (http://senators.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=480419).

The season after he was drafted Grant won a silver medal with Team Canada West and in the BCHL finished third in team scoring despite missing nearly half the season (he was on pace for 102 points).  Grant then moved on to Michigan State where he played on the top line (with Nick Sucharski and Corey Tropp) and finished with an Honourable Mention for the CCHA All-Rookie Team.  Prior to the season, TSN’s Shane Malloy said this about him, “Perhaps the best sleeper pick in the 2008 NHL draft was Derek Grant, who has played in relative obscurity with the Langley Chiefs in the BCHL. The 6-foot-3, 190 pound pivot has pretty decent overall hockey sense and dominated his peer group at that level. Over the past two seasons Grant posted 123 points in 92 games, scoring 49 goals and five game winners. His pucks skills are also good and he showed the ability to play in traffic while stickhandling or passing the puck. When it comes to skating, Grant gets off the mark pretty quickly and has the agility to maneuver around defenders. He could use some extra power in his stride and that will come once he adds strength to his core. His defensive game is slowly improving when it comes to protecting the puck along the wall and working well with his linemates. He still needs to make sure he keeps his feet moving while using his wingspan and stick to disrupt passing lanes. Grant is not a bang and crash style of player but he gets involved and will go to the dirty areas to score goals. Next season, Grant will attend Michigan State. Expect Ottawa to be patient with his development” (http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=278450).

In his sophomore and final NCAA season Grant lead his team in scoring, but decided to turn pro when it ended, signing not only his ELC but an ATO to play in Binghamton.  There are many reasons why he may have turned pro, but one comment (from The Cascade interview cited below) stuck out, “we had a really close team my freshman year of college“, implying that his sophomore team wasn’t as close.  Regardless, Grant joined Binghamton and was able to play quite a bit due to all the call-ups in Ottawa.  He was in the lineup for the entirety of the seven-game, first-round series against Manchester (scoring an OT winner), but did not dress afterward.

Grant has an edge in Binghamton because he’s played for Kleinendorst already.  He’ll likely play the wing and if given decent ice time should put up good numbers.  The return of Kaspars Daugavins (assuming he reports to Binghamton) hurts his ice time, but even if he’s a third liner he should at least match the numbers Erik Condra posted in his rookie year (38 points).  If he’s able to play on the second line, then he could push the 50-point ceiling.

You can follow Grant on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/dgrant27
An interview with Grant after signing: http://ufvcascade.ca/2011/04/11/interview-with-derek-grant/
Audio with Tim Murray about him (link at the bottom): http://www.the6thsens.com/2011-articles/march/derekgrant09949.html

Next up is Wacey Hamilton.

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Lee Sweatt Retires

A tweet from Scott Norton of Norton Sports is reporting that recent Binghamton Senator Lee Sweatt has informed the Ottawa Senators that he’s retiring (twitter.com/#!/ NortonSports/status/102063195795111936).  Just a note for clarification about the source of the story: many outlets (such as www.silversevensens.com) are citing Bruce Garrioch as the source.  If you haven’t read Garrioch’s tweet, he’s simply citing the Norton Sports tweet above.  I’ll continue to update the story as it unfolds.

[August 13th update: Garrioch has confirmed the story in the Ottawa Sun today (http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/08/12/no-sweatt-sens-free-agent-pickup-retires-before-camp).  There was no comment from the organisation included, nor any suggestion about who might be brought in to replace him.]

[August 18th update: Pierre Dorion was on The Team (www.team1200.com/ default.asp, part two of the interview, right near the end) and indicated the Sens are in no rush to replace Sweatt (saying if the right player is available they would sign him, but otherwise going with what they have).]