The 2019-20 NHL regular season has concluded and the next time the puck drops will officially kick off the race to the Stanley Cup. The Flyers are hungry and ready to battle it out, but that is thanks to the hard work from back in October.
In an End to End series, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Brooke Destra, Katie Emmer, Taryn Hatcher, Joe Fordyce and Jordan Hall will be grading players based on individual performances.
Today we will be looking at a newer addition in Derek Grant.
Grant is an interesting case to take a look at — mainly because he’s played only seven games as a Flyer so far. Although the sample size is still fairly small, it looks like he’s taken to his new team quickly, registering five points (one goal, four assists) in the short span.
In addition to that, he had back-to-back two-point games and registered a point in three consecutive. This was the first time he had recorded points in three straight games since Dec. 11-16 in the 2017-18 season. Overall, it’s been a solid start with the Flyers, and chemistry with his new teammates will only continue to get stronger.
B for the newcomer.
When Grant was acquired at the trade deadline, it was clear Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher was looking to build and improve the depth, and adding the Ducks' fourth-line center did that.
Grant had plenty of experience in the league, including experience moving to different locker rooms. The Flyers are the seventh team he’s played for in his career and that way of knowing what it was like to quickly meet teammates and learn systems with a new club was certainly a benefit when he made the transition to the Flyers.
Grant jumped in right away, and by his third game with the orange and black, he recorded his first goal, along with an assist which from there he continued on to a three-game point streak. Grant had a small sample size to grade off of as far as his regular-season performance, but with five points in seven games along with a plus-2 rating during that span, the goal of finding players to improve the depth was achieved in this case.
Grant is an A-.
Grant is still a bit tough to evaluate just yet, but let’s go for it anyway. Here’s the thing: Grant graded according to what this team wants him to be, should really get an A+. He’d been with the team for all of a split second before the NHL pause. In seven games, he tallied five points on a goal and four assists.
According to the guys I interviewed during the break, he’s made a concerted effort to keep in touch with them, and seems to genuinely have become fast friends with the entire locker room (which is impressive given how close this team is). He’s been the depth the Flyers really wanted Fletcher to bring in.
Let’s give him an A … it’s more of a midterm mark than a final grade given the small sample size. But he deserves it!
My initial instinct for a player who has played only seven games for the Flyers is to give an incomplete. However, in Grant’s case, he has done enough to earn an A for me. From what we’ve seen so far, he is far exceeding expectations by earning five points in seven games, especially for a player who was projected as a bottom-six forward when coming over at the trade deadline.
Grant is a veteran in this league and has played for a plethora of teams, some of them multiple times, so his ability to fit in with a new group of guys makes him a valuable piece for a team with aspirations of a deep playoff run.
This experience, coupled with the goal and four assists in the first seven games he has played for the Flyers, earns Grant an A from me despite the small sample size.
Grant was such a savvy, cost-effective move by Fletcher that quietly made the Flyers better.
Fletcher gave up Phantoms forward Kyle Criscuolo and a 2020 fourth-round draft pick to add Grant, who has a cap hit of only $700,000 and can become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
The 30-year-old center made the Flyers tougher to play against with his 6-foot-3, 206-pound build and proved to be an underrated scorer. Grant recorded five points (one goal, four assists) through seven games, a stretch in which the Flyers went 6-1-0 prior to the season being suspended. Between his time with the Ducks and Flyers, Grant put up 15 goals and 25 points — both career highs.
Grant had the profile of a rental but he'll certainly be under consideration for the Flyers to re-sign, especially if he shows even more during the 24-team tournament.
We have to consider the small sample size in our grade, so let's go with a B+ for Grant and his difference-making seven-game audition.
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