Playing for a bad PEI team this year, and not heavily hyped before the season, Gragnani may not have been on the map of many fans until the U-18 World Championships, but he’s attracted the attention of scouts all season long. Gragnani logged huge minutes on the PEI blue line and played in all situations, first line power play and penalty kill units. He needs to bulk up a bit, but that should not be an issue with his frame.
2006-07: Gragnani’s final season as a P.E.I. Rocket resulted in 22 goals and 68 points (fourth on the team) through 65 games.
2007-08: In 78 games with Rochester (AHL), the defenseman netted 14 goals and 52 points, good for a defenseman, but even better for a rookie. He was named the Amerk’s Rookie of the Year and the clubs Most Popular Player Award winner. He also saw some NHL ice-time this season, but failed to register any points in his two game call-up to the Sabres.
2008-09: Gragnani spent most of the season with Portland (AHL), where he potted nine goals and 51 points in 76 games. He saw more NHL action this season, but failed to register any points in his four game call-up to Buffalo.
2009-10: Gragnani saw a successful year in his 3rd pro season. In 66 games with Portland, the Quebec native would tally 43 points, 12 of those being goals.
2010-11: Gragnani appeared in three games during a mid-season call-up and then re-joined the Sabres for their stretch run after leading all AHL defensemen in scoring during the regular season. In the seven-game playoff series with Philadelphia, Gragnani was among the Sabres' leaders in ice-time – playing over 22 minutes in 5 of the 7 games. In nine regular season games he had 1 goal with 2 assists and was an even plus/minus with 2 PMs. In the series with the Flyers Gragnani scored a power play goal and had 6 assists and was an even plus/minus with 4 PMs. In 63 games with AHL Portland, he scored 12 goals with 48 assists and was +22 with 51 PMs. In four AHL playoff games, he had 2 assists and was -4. Gragnani signed a one-year contract with the Sabres in August 2011.
Gragnani is a well-rounded defenseman who plays with great tenacity. While he does not have one particular attribute that stands out, he is very capable and consistent. He is a solid passer, and plays with intelligence in the defensive zone. Though he is not an enforcer type, he is willing to sacrifice his body.
After a stellar 2010-11 season that saw him win the Eddie Shore award as the AHL’s best defenseman, Gragnani will man the Sabres blue line in 2011-12. He signed a one year contract in August of 2011 and with a good showing could be in line for a long term extension by season’s end.