Four games over the course of a season is not much of an NHL stint, even for a player such as Benoit Gratton. The Habs announced today that the pesky and constantly energetic forward will be heading back to the Hamilton Bulldogs, the team he has captained to great success.
Gratton’s leadership and offensive prowess prooved to be instrumental in the team’s deep postseason run last spring, and for the first part of the 2003-04 season, 25 games to be exact. Through those 25 contests, the 5’11 Gratton was spectacular, notching 34 points and grabbing a +7 along the way.
Gratton’s star status in the AHL hardly has gone unnoticed though, despite him missing half of the season, he was proudly selected as an All-Star, a role he should fullfil now that he is back in town.
Since being recalled from the Dogs on December 19th, Gratton picked up one point in four games, an assist, despite mustering just three shots on goal. And, while he won’t be dearly missed up on the big team (he had been out of action for over a month with his nasty concussion), the 27-year-old Montreal native has the certain personality that gives us, the fans, hope that, no matter how big he is, he’ll don the red, white, and blue again in the not too distant future.
Best of luck, on behalf of Habs fans all over, to Gratton and the Dogs, who play next on Wednesday night against the Rochester Americans. If you’re feeling like you haven’t got a whole heck of a lot to do, give them a listen to online via 820 CHAM at 7:00, and check up on all of the prospects.
On the topic of prospects, how does this transaction affect the youngsters skating in Hamilton? While it will result in a minor cut in their ice time, both Tomas Plekanec and Chris Higgins should be aided by their captain’s return, while Marcel Hossa’s and Alex Perezhogin’s strong showings of late should be prolonged as well. On the back end, expect the numbers and the confidence of Ron Hainsey ( 27 GP, 4 G, 11 A, +13) to be continually on the rise, with some possible increased production on the powerplay.