Coming in at number five on our list defenceman Petter
Granberg, who jumped a massive eight spots from our midterm rankings done back
Granberg is not by any means an offensive dynamo, so don’t
kid yourself here with his high ranking. He registered only two goals and seven
points in 73 games for the Marlies, his first season playing in the AHL.
Instead, what Granberg brings to the table is something the big league club has
been missing dearly over the last few years – a sound defensive presence. Being
paired with Stuart Percy for the majority of the season, Granberg was relied
upon to be the Marlies go-to defensive defenceman.
He’s a big defenceman, standing 6’2” and weighing 201
pounds, but his size isn’t a detriment to his skating ability. It actually wouldn’t
hurt if he put on even more size while sustaining his skating ability. Granberg
isn’t easy to beat around the edge and he’s been getting more physical as he’s
matured as a hockey player. He could very well be viewed soon as an upgrade
over the typically stone-footed “defensive-defenceman” the Leafs have seemed to
love employing under Nonis and Carlyle (Franson, Gleason, Polak anyone?).
In fact, he’s one of the only players on this list who could
challenge for legitimate NHL playing time as soon as this season (he was called
up for one game last season). If injuries occur on the backend, Granberg should
be one of the first people called up to fill that spot. More so, it’s not
entirely out of the question that he could make the team out of training camp,
although that scenario seems highly unlikely (Maybe Cody Franson gets
In order for him to continue to improve, he needs to work on
the little details in his game, since he isn’t overly impressive in any one
aspect. Skating, footwork, physicality, puck-moving and hockeysense are all
things that he can work on in the AHL while he gets ready to graduate to Maple
Once he does get here – which should be at some point during
this season – he should bring a safe, reliable, boring game without being a liability
defensively. And when you’re relied upon to play a strictly defensive game,
safe and boring is not a bad thing.
The potential is there for Granberg to become a top-4 NHL
defenceman. He just needs to keep improving at the AHL level and prove to
everyone in the organization that he deserves a spot on the Maple Leafs.