Markus Granlund knows he’s come to the Edmonton Oilers to do the grunt work.
“Your teammates in the locker room will tell you you’re doing a good job. That’s what matters,” Granlund said after Tuesday’s morning skate. He’ll play his first pre-season game with the Oilers Tuesday night in Vancouver.
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Granlund, 26, was signed to a one-year deal on July 1. While he did pot a career-high 19 goals with Vancouver in 2016-17, he’ll be most valuable to the Oilers if he can prevent goals.
“[Penalty kill] here last year wasn’t really good. You need to have good special teams if you want to win games,” Granlund said. “You have to take pride in it. You have to be a smart player to understand what they’re trying to do, where guys are going to pass it.”
The Oilers penalty killing was 30th in the NHL last season at 74.8 per cent. They’ve signed a lot of players who they hope they can help, like Riley Sheahan, Josh Archibald and Joakim Nygard.
Head coach Dave Tippett already sees Granlund emerging from that bunch.
“He anticipates plays, understands the structure of how we want to play,” said Tippett. “In these meetings, he understands what we’re trying to do. He’s a good, smart player and has some skill to go along with it.”
The Oilers expected lineup in Vancouver is:
Benson – McLeod – Hebig
Granlund – Cave – P. Russell
Jurco – Marody – Currie
Gambardella – Malone – Peluso
Nurse – Larsson
Samorukov – Bouchard
Manning – Bear
Catch the Oilers and Canucks on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show at 6 p.m. The game starts at 8 p.m.
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