Analyzing How Mikael Granlund Would Fit in with the Blue Jackets

By Jacob Nitzberg on December 5, 2020 at 12:23 pm
Feb 25, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators center Mikael Granlund (64) skates with the puck during the first period against the Ottawa Senators at Bridgestone Arena.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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The Mikael Granlund to Columbus rumors have picked up steam in recent days.

Many media outlets have reported that the Blue Jackets are one of the front runners to sign the former Predators winger.

Granlund has been a thorn in the Blue Jackets' side, registering four goals and nine points in their 13 encounters, so it makes sense that the Blue Jackets want him on their side. With that in mind, let's take a look at how he would fit in on the 2020-21 edition of the Blue Jackets:

After the additions of Max Domi and Mikko Koivu, the Blue Jackets are much stronger down the middle of the ice than they were last year. Granlund has played center in the past, but that wouldn't be necessary in Columbus. The Blue Jackets are weakest at the left wing position, especially after Gustav Nyquist's shoulder surgery, so Granlund could come in and strengthen that immediately.

The addition of Granlund would give the Blue Jackets scoring depth, which wasn't present for most of last season. The Finnish winger has scored over 20 goals twice in his career, and he tallied 17 in just 63 games last season. He's creative with the puck too, averaging just over 33 assists per season in his seven NHL campaigns.

In terms of chemistry, Granlund would be a perfect fit on the third line with his former teammate, Koivu. The two played six seasons and part of a seventh together in Minnesota from 2012 to 2019 before Granlund was traded to the Predators. A third line comprised of Boone Jenner, Koivu, and Granlund would have strong defensive leadership, bruising forechecking, and good skill with the puck. 

GM Jarmo Kekäläinen is likely 100% focused on contract talks with Pierre-Luc Dubois, but there's no question that he will try improve his team in whatever way he can. He normally likes to replace players that leave with depth within the organization, but Granlund may be the rare player that breaks the trend. 

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