Big Mac

Jono Bullard cannot hide his delight as former Calgary Flames, Nashville Predators & Ottawa Senators enforcer Brian McGratton signs for the Nottingham Panthers.

The rumours started in earnest on Wednesday evening as we were broadcasting The Cat’s Whiskers podcast, thanks to an innocuous question mark tweeted to Panthers by Brian McGrattan.

Since then social media has been rife with rumours that the former NHL hard-man with over 300 NHL games on his CV was heading to Nottingham. This lunchtime Panthers confirmed that McGrattan would fill the roster spot vacated by Cam Janssen in August.

Panthers needed to make a statement signing after Janssen revealed he was staying in St. Louis. In my opinion signing McGrattan is a huge statement of intent from Corey Neilson and also surpasses the signing of Janssen in terms of pedigree and profile.

Just looking McGrattan’s profile on Elite Prospects shows what sort of role he has played throughout his career, including an eye watering  1,051 PIMs during a three season spell with Binghampton Senators in the AHL (551 of those coming in the 2004/05 season alone). It’s clear he has been signed by Corey Neilson to be the policeman of the side, however I am also very confident he will contribute to the overall scoring. A respectable 45+40 in 336 AHL regular season games, plus a points per game average of 0.5 in the OHL shows that he can be a dangerous in the offensive zone. Having scored 8+9 in 58 AHL games for the San Diego Gulls last season, I’d expect at least double that from him in the Elite League.

So now we wait for McGrattan’s arrival and for some it can’t come soon enough. He will be a very welcome addition to the Panthers roster, filling a role that many said the Panthers lacked since it was revealed that Cam Janssen wasn’t returning. I am very much looking forward to seeing him in a Panthers shirt, and I expect I’m not the only one.

You can follow Jono on Twitter: @JonoBullard