Welcome back to my weekly ramblings. We’re back this week with another edition of Player A or B! It was well-received last time so this week I’ll be expanding on some of the answers to the question I asked the Twitterverse. You guys gave me two players from the 2020 NHL Draft class and I chose between them and I’m giving reasons as to why I would choose that player if the draft were today. Without further ado, let’s get at it!
This was one that I was hoping to get because it’s such a fluid situation with these two. I like that both defenders are strong skaters, have big frames and loads of potential. Both blueliners have the ability to move the puck up ice in transition and start the rush for their team but both achieve that goal with different means to the same ends. Wallinder is a puck possession transition player who likes to move up the ice with the puck on his stick. He utilizes his skating and weaves through traffic. Grans, on the other hand, uses his strong passing ability and puck skills to create space and then move the puck quickly onto the tape of his teammates. A negative aspect that both players share is that they seem to make mistakes positionally in their own end. They have been able to make up for it at times with long reach and excellent skating but the decision making defensively is questionable at times.
Where we can start to separate these two players is how they create their offense. Grans is a superior skilled offensive player but having that high-end skillset comes with making high-risk plays too often. Grans’ decision making with the puck is always rooted in offensive interests but at times he can be a bit over anxious to make a play. Above you can see Grans’ offensive ability on the powerplay. He threads the needle through traffic and then rings the return pass of the post. His willingness to try things is a testament to his creativity, which should be praised, but he needs to learn to make better decisions. He is at his best on the powerplay, with more space and time to thread passes through the offensive zone. His flaws have been picked on a bit more because the exposure to Grans has been greater for a longer time as he was identified early as one of the players to watch