#Pens Trade D Alex Grant to #Ducks for F Zolnierczyk

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Anaheim Ducks swap restricted free agents this afternoon as the Pens send defenseman Alex Grant to Anaheim in exchange for forward Harry Zolnierczyk.

Zolnierczyk, who will turn 26 in September, spent last season with both the Philadelphia Flyers and Ducks organizations. He tallied one assist in seven NHL games with NHL Flyers, while also posting 17 points (9G-8A) in 52 games with the AHL's Adirondack Phantoms.

Zolnierczyk ended up with the AHL's Norfolk Admirals after a trade on April 1st between the Ducks and Flyers sent Jay Rosehill to the city of brotherly love. In nine games with the Admirals, Zolnierczyk added two assists and 14 penalty minutes.

The WBS Penguins connection with Zolnierczyk? He and Bobby Farnham were teammates for three seasons at Brown University from 2008-09 to 2010-11. Oddly enough, they both play a similar style. Both use speed, grit and agitation to their advantage, while Zolnierczyk has more offensive upside.

In order for the Penguins to keep Zolnierczyk in the organization next season, they will need to tender him a qualifying offer of $660,000 at the NHL level to retain his services for the 2013-14 season. For how low Zolneirczyk's contract is, I would think tendering him is almost an automatic.

For Alex Grant, he gets a chance for a more legitimate path to the NHL - one he never really got while with Pittsburgh and their logjam of high-end blue line prospects. Grant is your typical offensive defenseman who can quarterback the power play on the point and utilize the cannon of a slap shot he has.

He has had troubles in his own zone and his defensive game needs some work, but he makes up for it with his offensive prowess and physical play. You can count on Grant to drop the gloves with anyone if it's to stick up for a teammate.

Lastly, but certainly not least, Grant was a real character guy an it was always a pleasure to interview him after practice or after a game. I wish Alex all the best moving forward in his NHL pursuit.


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