Grant Getting His Chance To Shine

Monday, January 28, 2013
Alex Grant is an offensive defenseman who has a big shot from the point.
Although Alex Grant made the team's opening night lineup in Binghamton back in October, he was slowly losing a numbers game on the blueline. With the NHL lockout bolstering AHL lineups and the additions of newly acquired Brian Dumoulin and 2011 first round pick Joe Morrow, Grant saw himself slip down to as far as 8th on the AHL Penguins defensive depth chart this season.

Hard to imagine after leading all Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defensemen in scoring last season with 37 points (10G-27A) in 61 games, including seven power play goals, that Grant would have any trouble cracking the lineup this season in 2012-13. It got to a point this season where the team was using him as a 7th defensemen or a winger on the 4th line, desperately trying to spread minutes amongst nine defensemen.

Now that the dust has settled from the NHL lockout, and guys like Robert Bortuzzo, Simon Despres and Brian Strait have graduated to the NHL, Grant has been a regular in the WBS lineup and playing a much more expanded role.

I caught up with Grant two weeks ago after a three point night in Norfolk and he talked about what the end of the lockout meant for him, in terms of more playing time and a shot to be a difference maker on this team.

"It's what I've been working for all year," Grant said. "I've put a lot of time in off-ice and in practices."

Paired with teammate Joey Mormina on the team's 2nd pairing, Grant is getting more ice time both at even strength and the power play. He logged 20:41 of ice time in Friday night's game up in Rochester, the most for any Penguins defenseman that night.

"That's what you're working for all year is that opportunity and I was fortunate enough to get it and take advantage of it."

Four of Grant's five points on the season have come in the last five games. With an increased role and his cannon of a shot on the man advantage, is it only a matter of time before Grant becomes a guy that can change the outcome of a game?


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