Ryan Graves has filed for salary arbitration and rightfully so.
Graves’ road to the NHL and subsequent success has everything to do with his work ethic, character and resiliency.
If anyone deserves a raise it’s Ryan Graves.
You see the proud Nova Scotian has put in all the work, paid his dues and has proved he can be a Top 4 defender at the highest level.
Graves is a perfect example of a player never giving up on your dreams.
Many in the hockey world probably thought Graves would be an AHL lifer after spending four seasons in the circuit.
Clearly Graves needed an opportunity and a change of scenery.
The Colorado Avalanche hit a homerun when they acquired Graves at the twelve hour of the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline.
At the time everyone assumed it was an exchange of minor league defenders or a depth move.
Graves was subsequently traded for Chris Bigras.
That trade and Graves’ success is very well documented and one of the best feel good stories in the past two years in the NHL.
Obviously the likes of Bobby Smith, Al MacInnis, Sidney Crosby, Brad Marchand and Nathan MacKinnon have put Nova Scotia on the map when it comes to the NHL. Nevertheless, Graves has done amazing work growing the game in his hometown and neighbouring communities.
The highly skilled two-way defender also supports the Maritime NHLer’s For Kids Gala and Golf Tournament which raises funds to help reduce financial barriers preventing deserving boys and girls from playing hockey in the Maritime region.
Graves is a natural when it comes to connecting with kids.
A matter of fact the kids gravitate towards the towering soft spoken mature defenceman.
When Ryan Graves speaks, people listen.
Graves’ speech at the Caddie Q and A in Digby was one of the highlights of the event.
Graves spoke from the heart saying that the kids attending the event reminded him of his own childhood and path in the game.
You could hear a pin drop when he spoke in the rink on that rainy summer day.
Graves isn’t the flashiest of NHL defenceman, he just gets the job done every time he steps on the ice.
You can look at the stats, you can look at the player and person, either way you can’t miss his smile.
Ryan Graves loves playing the game of hockey and he loves his teammates.
He’s all heart and soul.
Graves’ impact transcends the game. On or off the ice, Ryan Graves is the type of player you want and need on your hockey club.
If I’m Joe Sakic and the Avs, I would have slid a blank cheque Graves way a long time ago.
Let’s take a look at the numbers for those interested.
What’s the fair market value for a 6’5 220 pound smooth skating left shooting defenceman who recorded 26 points in 69 games, 45 PIMs, plays in every situation and finished the year as a staggering plus 40?
Ryan Graves isn’t a flash in the pan, defender, he’s a bonafide top tier NHL defender, he’s earned that title and now he should be paid like one.
If there’s any player that deserves a raise it’s Yarmouth’s own Ryan Graves!