A few years ago, there were legitimate questions about whether or not Michael Grabner was playing himself out of a National Hockey League job. The low point was surely his 2015-16 campaign with a rebuilding Toronto Maple Leafs team. Grabner’s goal-scoring production had fizzled in prior seasons on Long Island, and the Islanders decided to move him up north that summer. Grabner would go on to score just nine goals in an 80-game season, and the Leafs let him walk as an unrestricted free agent. With little leverage after a series of mediocre seasons, Grabner inked what would end up being one of the best discount contracts the league has seen in some time in the summer of 2016 – a two-year, $1.6 million AAV contract with the New York Rangers. Grabner has scored 52 goals (a pace of 31 goals per 82 games) in the last two seasons on Broadway, and has consistently been a huge bright spot for a Rangers organization that hasn’t had many recently. Now holding an expiring contract on a team that has signalled its intent to rebuild, the Grabner renaissance has entered a new stage – one that’s likely going to end with a trade in the next few days. TSN’s Trade Bait board has him slotted seventh, which is impressively high for a player whose career was in question just a few years ago. And yet, I still think it undersells how much value Grabner can bring to a team here. Fit is going to matter, no question, but from a production and cap perspective there’s an argument to be made that Grabner is one of the more valuable players in the league. It’s hard to find such consistent goal scoring for such a low price in a hard cap league.
'Action picking up' on Grabner trade talks
TSN | Feb 22