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Rocco Niccolas Grimaldi (born February 8, 1993) is an American professional ice hockey forward who currently plays for the Nashville Predators organization of the National Hockey League (NHL). Grimaldi was drafted by the Florida Panthers in the second round (33rd overall) of the 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft.[2]

Rocco Grimaldi
Rocco Grimaldi (39927301262).jpg
Born (1993-02-08) February 8, 1993 (age 26)
Rossmoor, California, U.S.[1]
Height 5 ft 6 in (168 cm)
Weight 180 lb (82 kg; 12 st 12 lb)
Position Center
Shoots Right
NHL team
Former teams
Nashville Predators
Florida Panthers
Colorado Avalanche
NHL Draft 33rd overall, 2011
Florida Panthers
Playing career 2014–present

Early lifeEdit

At the age of five, Grimaldi started to play roller hockey in California. When he was first exposed to the game, he thought it looked more exciting than baseball. In 2005, Grimaldi and some of his family relocated to Michigan so that he could play against a better level of competition. As a youth, he played in the 2004 and 2005 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament with the California Wave minor ice hockey team, and in the 2006 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament with the Detroit Little Caesars team.[3]

Playing careerEdit

Grimaldi played AAA Hockey for Detroit Little Caesars during the 2008–2009 season, collecting 43 points with 17 goals and 26 assists in 31 games.[4] He then played two seasons with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program against junior teams in the United States Hockey League. During the 2009–10 season, Grimaldi led the United States Under 17 national team in scoring with 40 points in 36 games.[5]

During the 2010–11 season, he led Team USA in scoring with 34 goals and 28 assists in 50 games.[6][7] Grimaldi was eligible to be drafted into the National Hockey League (NHL) in 2011. Prior to the draft, there were concerns about his size. At 5'6", he is smaller than most NHL players.[6] Grimaldi is not concerned about his size, and takes the questions about it in stride, "I think it’s fun."[8] The 2011–12 Hockey Prospectus ranked Grimaldi as its #36 best hockey prospect noting that he "overcomes his diminutive size with off the chart intangibles and physical ability."[9]

Grimaldi committed to the University of North Dakota and entered his freshman season for UND in the 2011–12 season.[10]

On May 7, 2014, Grimaldi signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Florida Panthers.[11] In the 2014–15 season, Grimaldi made his professional debut with the Panthers AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage. On November 1, 2014, he received his first NHL recall and made his NHL debut with the Panthers in a 2–1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers the following day.[12] He was again called up to the Panthers on November 18, achieving the rare feat of playing two games in one day—a morning matinee with the Rampage, and another with the Panthers that evening (the morning game, coupled with the Panthers playing on the West Coast that evening and thus played three hours later than usual, allowed Grimaldi the time to travel to the second game).[13]

On June 23, 2016, Grimaldi was traded by the Panthers to the Colorado Avalanche for goaltender Reto Berra.[14] After attending his first training camp with the Avalanche, Grimaldi was reassigned to affiliate and former AHL club, the San Antonio Rampage, on September 30, 2016, to begin the 2016–17 season.[15] After 19 games, Grimaldi was leading the Rampage in scoring with 15 points, when he received his first recall to Colorado on December 2, 2016.[16] He made his Avalanche debut the following night in a 3–0 defeat to the Dallas Stars and was returned to the Rampage at the conclusion of the game.[17]

On July 26, 2017, the Avalanche re-signed Grimaldi to a one-year, two-way contract.[18] In the 2017–18 season, Grimaldi spent the majority of the campaign with the Rampage, where he recorded 31 points in 49 games. He played in a further 6 games in the NHL with the Avalanche, posting a goal and two assists and recording his second-career two-point game on October 28, 2017, against the Chicago Blackhawks.

As a group IV free agent, Grimaldi opted to leave the Avalanche and agreed to a one-year, two-way contract with the Nashville Predators on July 1, 2018.[19]

International playEdit

 
Medal record
Representing   United States
Ice hockey
World Junior Championships
  2013 Ufa
IIHF World U18 Championships
  2010 Belarus
  2011 Germany
World U-17 Hockey Challenge
  2010 Ontario

Grimaldi was selected to the United States Under 18 team and helped the team win their second straight World Championship on April 10, 2010.[5] In the gold medal game versus Sweden, Grimaldi had one goal and one assist as the United States triumphed by a 3–1 mark. Rocco Grimaldi scored twice vs. Finland on Friday, November 12 at the 2010 Men's Under-18 Four Nations Cup.[20]

He was a member of Team USA's Gold Medal team at the 2013 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, scoring two goals, including the game winner, in the championship game vs. Sweden.[21]

Personal lifeEdit

Grimaldi was born in Anaheim, California. Grimaldi is a devout born again Christian.[2] His father was a police officer in California. His mother was the Little Caesars AAA Hockey club team manager.[22]

In July 2016, Grimaldi married Abigail (Abby) Mattson.[23]

Career statisticsEdit

Regular season and playoffsEdit

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2009–10 U.S. National Development Team USHL 32 11 9 20 22
2009–10 U.S. National Under-18 Team USDP 26 7 16 23 12
2010–11 U.S. National Development Team USHL 23 12 13 25 18
2011–12 University of North Dakota WCHA 4 1 1 2 2
2012–13 University of North Dakota WCHA 40 13 23 36 18
2013–14 University of North Dakota NCHC 42 17 22 39 48
2014–15 San Antonio Rampage AHL 64 14 28 42 22 3 1 0 1 4
2014–15 Florida Panthers NHL 7 1 0 1 4
2015–16 Portland Pirates AHL 52 16 17 33 20 5 0 4 4 0
2015–16 Florida Panthers NHL 20 3 2 5 2 2 0 0 0 2
2016–17 San Antonio Rampage AHL 72 31 24 55 39
2016–17 Colorado Avalanche NHL 4 0 1 1 2
2017–18 San Antonio Rampage AHL 49 15 16 31 32
2017–18 Colorado Avalanche NHL 6 1 2 3 0
2018–19 Milwaukee Admirals AHL 10 4 7 11 8
2018–19 Nashville Predators NHL 53 5 8 13 10 5 3 0 3 0
NHL totals 90 10 13 23 18 7 3 0 3 2

InternationalEdit

Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
2010 United States U17   6 4 10 14 8
2010 United States WJC18   7 2 8 10 6
2011 United States WJC18   6 2 6 8 6
2013 United States WJC   7 2 2 4 4
Junior totals 26 10 26 36 24

Awards and honorsEdit

Award Year
USHL
All-Star Game 2011
College
NCAA Champions 2012
All-WCHA Rookie Team 2013 [24]
WCHA All-Academic Team 2013
International
U17 WHC All-Star Team 2010
U17 WHC Most Assists 2010
U17 WHC Most Points 2010

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "A homecoming for Panthers' Rocco Grimaldi". Sun-Sentinel. November 4, 2015. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Greg Wyshynski. "Panthers pick Rocco Grimaldi's leap of faith at NHL Entry Draft". Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  3. ^ "Pee-Wee players who have reached NHL or WHA" (PDF). Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament. 2018. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  4. ^ "Rocco Grimaldi". NHL. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Where Will They Be?". Sports Illustrated. August 2, 2010: 126. Retrieved March 29, 2013. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ a b "Grimaldi refuses to allow size to become an issue". Fox News. June 10, 2011. Retrieved June 26, 2011.
  7. ^ Kennedy, R. (May 3, 2011). "The Hot List: Growing up Grimaldi". The Hockey News. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
  8. ^ Schlossman, Brad Elliott (June 22, 2011). "Taking center stage". Grand Forks Herald. Archived from the original on January 25, 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2011.
  9. ^ Pronman, C. (2011). "Top 100 NHL Prospects". In Seppa, T. (ed.). Hockey Prospectus 2011–12. pp. 416–417. ISBN 978-1-4663-4452-5.
  10. ^ Switaj, Caryn (January 2011). "Rocco Grimaldi". USA Hockey Magazine. Retrieved October 9, 2011. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ "Rocco Grimaldi agree to entry-level contract with Panthers". Florida Panthers. May 7, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  12. ^ "Team USA alum makes NHL debut". United States Hockey League. November 3, 2011. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
  13. ^ Beacham, Greg (November 19, 2014). "Rocco Grimaldi plays AHL, NHL games on same day". Associated Press. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  14. ^ "Panthers deal Grimaldi to Avs for Berra". The Sports Network. June 23, 2016. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  15. ^ "Avalanche make roster moves". Colorado Avalanche. September 30, 2016. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  16. ^ "Grimaldi gets his chance". Colorado Avalanche. December 2, 2016. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  17. ^ "Kari Lehtonen, Stars shutout Avalanche". National Hockey League. December 2, 2016. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  18. ^ "Avalanche signs Rocco Grimaldi, Jesse Graham". Denver Post. July 26, 2017. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  19. ^ "Predators sign forward Rocco Grimaldi to one-year contract". Nashville Predators. July 1, 2018. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  20. ^ "U.S. National Under-18 Team Tops Finland, 3–2, at 2010 Under-18 Four Nations Cup". USA Hockey. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  21. ^ Lucas Aykroyd. "U.S. golden in Ufa!". International Ice Hockey Federation. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  22. ^ Archuleta, Nadia (July 26, 2017). "Colorado Avalanche: All About Center Rocco Grimaldi". milehighsticking.com. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  23. ^ "Grimaldi-Mattson". Grand Forks Herald. July 2, 2018. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  24. ^ "WCHA All-Rookie Teams". College Hockey Historical Archives. Retrieved May 19, 2013.

External linksEdit