Brian McGrattan, who thrived as an enforcer after arriving in Syracuse in a mid-season trade, re-signed with the Ducks today on a one-year contract worth $600,000 in the NHL and $105,000 in the AHL.
Much like the Ducks’ other free-agent acquisitions this week — Andrew Gordon, Bryan Rodney and, possibly, J-F Jacques — McGrattan is a safe bet to start the 2011-12 season in Syracuse. He had six goals, four assists and 56 penalty minutes in 20 games for the Crunch last season after being acquired from the Boston Bruins. The 29-year-old also had 13 shots in a single game March 12, a franchise record.
Should Jacques fail to land an NHL roster spot, the Ducks could turn to McGrattan for extra fourth-line muscle in a pinch. He’s played 182 career NHL games with Ottawa, Phoenix and Calgary, collecting three goals and 14 points with 395 penalty minutes. He most recently played with Calgary in 2009-10, notching one goal, four points and 86 PIM in 34 games.
McGrattan told the Syracuse Post-Dispatch that his “goal is to make Anaheim. If I don’t, I’ll be in Syracuse. Playing for (Crunch head coach) Mark Holick again, that’s a big reason I’d want to play in Syracuse, if I’m sent there. It’s a win-win. If I make the team (Anaheim), I make the team. If I don’t make the team, I know I’ll have every opportunity to get back up there. I can see myself being an extra guy up top. You never know. A lot can happen. That’s why you have to be ready. If I’m not there, at least I know I’ve given everything I had.”
One other interesting wrinkle to the story out of Syracuse: McGrattan and Ray Emery are good friends, having played in the Ottawa Senators’ organization together from 2002-08. McGrattan told the P-D that “at last word Emery told him he didn’t have much cooking in terms of signing with a team.”