Rocco Grimaldi
Image: North Dakota

Rocco Grimaldi

Hometown:

Rossmoor California

Currently Playing In:

Pro

Birthday:

1993-02-08

Position:

C

Eligible for draft:

2011

Shoots:

Right

Drafted:

2011

Height:

5-6

Acquired:

Trade with Florida, 2016

Weight:

180 lbs.

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History

2009-10: Rocco Grimaldi split the season between the U.S. NTDP national team and the squad playing in the USHL. In 32 USHL games, he scored 11 goals and added 9 assists for 20 points. In 36 games for the Under-17 squad, Grimaldi scored 14 goals and added 26 assists for 40 points. In 26 games for the Under-18 squad, he scored 7 goals and added 16 assists for 23 points. Grimaldi played for the gold medal USA squad at the 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, scoring 4 goals and adding 10 assists for 14 points in 6 games. His performance earned him a berth on the tournament All-Star Team. Grimaldi also earned gold for the USA at the 2010 U-18 World Junior Championship, where he scored 2 goals and added 8 assists for 10 points in 7 games.

2010-11: In 23 games for the NTDP squad playing in the USHL, Grimaldi scored 12 goals and added 13 assists for 25 points. He won a gold medal again while playing for the USA at the 2011 U-18 World Junior Championship, scoring 2 goals and adding 6 assists for 8 points in 6 games. Grimaldi was chosen in the second round, 33rd overall, of the 2011 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers.

2011-12: Grimaldi appeared in just four games for the University of North Dakota in what would have been his freshman year. A knee injury suffered in pre-season camp eventually led to season-ending surgery in January 2012. In four early season games with the Fighting Sioux he had 1 goal with 1 assist and was minus-five with 2 penalty minutes. He was invited to USA Hockey’s Lake Placid U20 Evaluation Camp but was still recovering. Grimaldi was granted a medical redshirt by the NCAA and will once again be a freshman in 2012-13.

2012-13: Grimaldi made a smooth return from the knee injury of the previous season — finishing as North Dakota’s third-leading scorer as a redshirt freshman and winning a gold medal with the USA at the 2013 World Junior Championship. Skating with several different line mates for the Fighting Sioux, he scored 13 goals with 23 assists and was +14 with 18 penalty minutes in 40 games. North Dakota finished third in the WCHA and after an overtime loss to Colorado College in the WCHA semifinals defeated Niagara before falling to eventual national champion Yale in the West Region final. Grimaldi scored 2 goals with 2 assists and was +4 with 4 penalty minutes in seven games at the WJC. The USA defeated Sweden, 3-1, in the gold medal game.

2013-14: Grimaldi was the leading scorer for the University of North Dakota as a redshirt sophomore. In 42 games for the Fighting Sioux he scored 17 goals with 22 assists and was +13 with 48 penalty minutes. North Dakota finished second to St. Cloud State in the newly-formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference; losing to Miami, 3-0, in the NCHC semifinals but earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Midwest Regional with a win in the league’s third-place game. The Fighting Sioux defeated Wisconsin and Ferris State to win the regional; falling to Minnesota 2-1 in the Frozen Four semifinals on a goal in the game’s final second. Grimaldi signed a three-year entry-level with the Panthers in May 2014, foregoing his final two years of NCAA eligibility. 

2014-15: Grimaldi’s first season as a pro was an overwhelming success. In 64 games with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL, he scored 14 goals and added 28 assists, while earning power-play time. His offensive production allowed him to earn a look in Florida, where he skated in seven games for the Panthers. He scored his first career NHL goal on Nov. 22 against the Nashville Predators.

2015-16: Grimaldi played in 22 games with the Panthers — including two playoff games — and spent most of his second pro season with new Florida AHL affiliate Portland. Slowed by an ankle injury suffered in training camp, he scored 3 goals with 2 assists and was -4 with 2 penalty minutes, averaging 12 minutes of ice time in 20 regular season games. Grimaldi was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, averaging 10:30 minutes in the Panthers’ first-round series against the Islanders. He was third behind Pirates’ leading scorer Rob Schremp and Kyle Rau with 16 goals in 52 games for Portland and was -2 with 17 assists and 20 penalty minutes. The Pirates finished fourth in the Atlantic Division, falling to Hershey in a first-round playoff series. Grimaldi led Portland in scoring in the playoffs, recording 4 assists and finishing +1 in five playoff games.

Talent Analysis

Grimaldi is a top-flight NHL hockey player in a small package. He is a terrific skater, both with and without the puck. His quickness and acceleration are truly high end and he has the agility to match. His shot is deadly, and his passing skills are professional grade. Grimaldi is a tireless worker and often the most competitive player on the ice. His combination of puck skills, compete level and explosive skating give him everything he needs to overcome any issues he might have because of his size.

Future

Grimaldi was dealt by the Florida Panthers to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Reto Berra. Grimaldi's lack of stature is a challenge but his offensive skill set suggests he can contribute on the scoresheet in a lower line role.

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