Leafs coach Mike Babcock spoke about Michael Grabner today and was asked if he was surprised with how Grabner has produced for the Rangers.
Babcock said that he has known Grabner "forever," dating back to his time in Spokane in the WHL, and said that the Leafs coaches and Lou Lamoriello wanted him back "big time" but the organization chose to play their kids instead.
He continued that Grabner had 100 breakaways last season and went 0 for 100. He then said that the last time the Rangers played the Leafs Grabner was 2 for 4 on breakaways and joked that the Leafs "should keep his breakaway count under 4 tonight.
Babcock coached Michael Grabner last season in Toronto and said that he was "real good" on the penalty kill and in a matchup role. (Globe and Mail)
Babcock has also said:
- "Grabs can fly and he's a good penalty killer. It wasn't going so well for him on Long Island the last little while, but he can score." (Toronto Sun)
- "We'd like to see him get some confidence and his scoring touch back … it appears to me he's getting comfortable and getting better all the time, but he's really good on our PK and that's been a big part of our success as of late. He's done a real nice job for us." (Globe and Mail)
- "He's got better each and every game for us, he's been an important player on the penalty kill." (Globe and Mail)
Grabner said that Babcock wanted him to use his forecheck and speed to create turnovers and "obviously' be strong on the PK. (Toronto Sun)
Last season Grabner was second in the league in overall PK time for forwards at 248:29 and second in average PK time per game for forwards at 3:08.