Three minutes into Alex Grant’s first exhibition game of the 2010-2011 season, his hopes of securing a top 6 role in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton were shattered.

Grant, a promising 4th round pick in 2007, was coming off a rookie campaign that saw him improve greatly over the season and had him ready to grab one of the available spots on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton top power play unit.

At least, until Ottawa Camp Invitee David Dziurzynski ended his shot at having a productive season with a dirty hit that rocketed him into the end boards.

Dziurzynski was assessed a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct for his hit and the Rookie Penguins went on to win the game 5-3. But the damage was done.

Grant was sent to the hospital straight from the John Labatt Centre with his neck and limbs immobilized and was even kept overnight at the hospital. Grant’s wrist was severely broken and he had a severe case of whiplash.

On October 23, 2010, Wilkes-Barre’s first game against the Binghamton Senators, it was Keven Veilleux who dropped the gloves with Dziurzynski, not one of the team’s tough guys. Veilleux was coming off of a major injury himself but he wasted no time exacting revenge for the dirty hit on Grant.

According to Jonathan Bombulie of the Citizen’s Voice, Grant resumed skating a few weeks ago with a no-contact jersey until last week when he resumed full contact practice with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Grant is unlikely to play for Wilkes-Barre this season because the team is well on its way to making a run at a Calder Cup and a rusty, offensive minded rearguard is not the best choice for the 6th defensive spot.

“I expect he’ll have to go to Wheeling once he’s cleared to play,” Bombulie said. “I can’t imagine him beating out [rookie defenseman] Carl Sneep for a spot having been sidelined for so long. Sneep’s been pretty decent lately.”

“The top five spots here are locked in: Strait-Bortuzzo, Wagner-Potter and Hutchinson. Sneep/Mormina are 6th/7th.”

Grant is known for being an offensively gifted defenseman with a mean streak that tends to have mental lapses in his own zone. He played 14 games at the AHL level last season and by all accounts was a pleasant surprise with 3G 2A 5P +8 and a surprising 28PIM.

The penalty minutes are nothing new for Grant. He had 108PIMs in his draft year and 96 the following season.

Grant will look to finish the season strong in Wheeling and secure a top 6 role in Wilkes-Barre for next season.

Here is a video of the hit (starts at 0:50 mark):