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Granlund to make Predators debut against Jets, cap crazy week

Forward was traded to Nashville by Wild, became father, turned 27 within 24-hour span

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Mikael Granlund is expected to make his Nashville Predators debut against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place on Friday (8 p.m. ET; TSN3, FS-TN, NHL.TV), culminating what has been a memorable week for the center, to say the least.

It began Monday, when Granlund was traded to the Predators by the Minnesota Wild for forward Kevin Fiala. Granlund was unable to join the Predators for their 2-0 loss at the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, when he and his fiancée Emmi Kainulainen had their first child, the same day Granlund celebrated his 27th birthday.

"It's been pretty special the last couple days, obviously with the baby and everything and the trade," Granlund said after his first practice with the Predators at Centennial Sportsplex on Thursday. "It's been a busy last couple of days.

"I guess that's just the way it sometimes goes. Everybody is healthy back home and everything went well. … now you just come here and start playing with your new teammates and your new team. That's maybe the easiest way to go forward is to just go out and play, and I'm really excited to be here."

Granlund was on a line with Kyle Turris and Calle Jarnkrok at practice and was also on a power play unit with Turris, forwards Wayne Simmonds and Filip Forsberg and defenseman Roman Josi. The Predators are hoping Granlund will provide an immediate boost to their second line and their power play, which is ranked 31st in the NHL.

Nashville is in first place in the Central Division, one point ahead of the Winnipeg Jets, who have three games in hand.

"I think you're going to notice him," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said of Granlund. "That's the best way for me to describe it. I think that you're going to notice him on the score sheet and then involved in the offensive mix. He's a guy that's put up [69 and 67 points] in the last two years. … He's probably on pace for 60 points this year, so this is a guy that can make a difference."

Granlund has 49 points (15 goals, 34 assists) in 63 games with the Wild this season and will try to simplify his game and let his instincts take over against the Jets.

"Just try to work hard," he said. "I can play all around and hopefully I can make something happen on the power play. You know, you just go out there and just work as hard as you can and everything will come from there.

"That's the easiest way. Just go out there and play, and we'll see what happens."

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