When the Anaheim Ducks traded Joseph Blandisi to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Derek Grant, I have to admit, I was rather livid. If the Ducks would have just resigned him, they wouldn’t have lost a valuable AHL asset. Plus, Grant wasn’t particularly having his best season with the Pens. Although, he certainly wasn’t having his worst. It was clear that his time with the Anaheim Ducks had done good things for him and boosted his confidence. However, why move on in the first place?
It wasn’t long before I had to eat my words. While he may have only had 9 points with the Anaheim Ducks in 31 games, he proved, yet again, that he could be a valuable 4th line center for the Ducks. This was definitely something they needed in the midst of Ryan Kesler‘s injury as well as Brian Gibbons‘ incompetence.
So, why move on yet again when he’s proven to be a valuable asset? The fact of the matter is, the Anaheim Ducks don’t have the resources, nor do they have the room, for Grant to continue on with the team. As much as Ducks Nation would love to keep him, if Bob Murray really wants to move in the direction of becoming a younger team, he needs to make room for Sam Steel. Keeping Grant would hinder Steel’s development and rob him of an opportunity that is very much deserved.
With the improvement he has shown over the past few seasons, there is no doubt in my mind that a team who desires a veteran 4th line center will pick up Grant in Free Agency this summer. He may not be of the same caliber as Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby, but he can still make a difference if given the opportunity.
Korbinian Holzer gets the benefit of the doubt after spending a majority of the season sidelined with a wrist injury. It isn’t easy to come back from an injury like that, but he managed to do so. However, Holzer was almost invisible on the ice this season. When he was noticed, it was for critical mistakes that would cost his team.
With the crop of defenseman down on the farm waiting to break into the NHL full time, this also makes Holzer extremely expendable. Andy Wilenski may have the same amount of points this season as Holzer, however, he is both younger and has shown to have a higher upside.
It is possible that he could benefit the Anaheim Ducks down in San Diego. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of defensemen down on the farm who are better suited for the job. If the Ducks don’t seem him as a part of their long term plans, it is better to cut ties now and use valuable resources to make the team younger and faster.