For a Sweidsh Toronto Maple Leaf prospect, landing at #13 (or #21 for that matter) probably isn't a bad omen.
But then, for a prospect to have gone from a somewhat unknown just outside of our list to comfortably placed in the middle of the countdown, knocking on the door of a Top 10 place, in the span of eighteen months, that prospect is probably doing all right for themselves.
Last summer, after a successful transition to playing a full professional schedule in the SEL as a 19-year old, we increased his ranking by four spots. This year was largely written off as a shoulder injury caused Granberg to miss a large portion of the SEL season. And we moved up nine spots.
Generally players move up the list after achieving growth in their development. Granberg stalled because of his injury and got rewarded with a big jump. What gives?
The biggest thing that happened is that the middle class around him sort of imploded. A number of the guys that ranked in and around Granberg either turned 25 or are no longer part of the organization. Others simply have not gained traction in moving towards the NHL, and we have less faith in their ability to succeed as NHL prospects, including a few names that we've seen stall on the countdown or even drop back.
While Granberg didn't do much last season, he also didn't do anything to harm his future prospects (through ineffective play), and basically remains on the same plan he was when we checked in last time; moving to North America to likely join the Marlies.
EDITION 2 - 22/41
EDITION 1 - 26/45
While Granberg didn't have much of an opportunity to progress last season, he's done enough to make the Leafs brass very excited about the prospect of him playing for them down the road. Director of Scouting Dave Morrison thinks that might even happen sooner rather than later.
How soon is tough to tell, because until he actually gets into North American action, you just don't know. I would say all the ingredients are there, so it might not take long at all.
Put it this way: he was on the top pairing with (Alex) Edler) (against Canada at the world championship's) and they played most of the game against (Steven) Stamkos' line.
So if Granberg cashes in, what can we expect. So far offence has been sparse in Granberg's career. Granberg is a consummate "little things" defender; he has storng technical skating, is big and physical but not overly aggressive, preferring instead to use his size to contain forwards rather than punish them, and he makes a strong first pass.
Carl Gunnarsson has been his comparison, and I think it's a good fit. The major difference would appear to be Granberg is a bit more physical, while Gunnarsson has slightly more of a two-way game.
Like many of the prospects on our countdown who saw a big jump in the rankings, that usually means that his ranking saw a big jump from the previous edition. Three different voters (Chemmy, PPP, and JP Nikota) moved him up more than ten places into the Top 10, i moved him up seven spots, and all three new voters moved him immediately into the Top 12. birky had hiim much higher than everyone last year, but dropped him two spots, while Skinny actually cast the last vote you will see for a player outside the Top 25 by dropping Granberg three places.
Granberg has spent parts of four season in the SHL and he's only 20 years old. A good, shut-down D-man is something that the Leafs have been in dire need of for some time. He's no lock to make the NHL, but definitely has a shot.
I can appreciate Granberg's lack of offence more than the other Swedish D prospects, because he's been playing a level higher. This sudden rhought that he'll jump righ to the NHL seems misplaced to me, because right now I see a Swedish Korbinian Holzer.
Granberg's total of 164 points is three clear of Cameranesi for 13th place, and just two points shy of our 12th place finisher.
In the coming season's struggle to sort our which defenceman will play where and in what role, Granberg is a dark horse that could surprise many by stealing a prominent job from somebody we're more familar with, and could possibly keep the Leafs tradition of unherladed Swedish defenceman going.