The Flames Fifteen: #9 – Markus Granlund



Siblings are inevitably compared to one another throughout their lives. 

In the sporting world, that’s often magnified – usually siblings are the product of the same developmental system, they’ve probably had the same opportunities growing up and more often then not they play on the same teams together (age dependent, of course).

Markus Granlund is likely to end up in the same sentences as his brother, Mikael, for a long time yet. Markus, the Flames third pick in last year’s draft (2nd round, 45th overall), has been dealing with comparisons to his brother for a while now. Everywhere you look, the elder Granlund is mentioned along with him.

But he doesn’t see that as a bad thing – and indeed, being compared to the player often talked about as the best non-NHLer (or rather, not-yet-NHLer) on the planet can’t be hurting his reputation. At the same time, though, he often talks about how he and Mikael are different players. 

“I have my own style, but he’s my brother, so of course we learn from each other,” Markus said to in this interview. From first-hand experience, I can tell you that quote is very true. 

Player Kent Justin WI Scott VF Arik (Not Counted)
Markus Granlund 7 6 N/R 10 13

[HockeyDB] [EliteProspects] [Hockey’s Future]

 *Reminder – The evaluators were asked to rank players, and we sorted the rankings via a simple point scale-number 15 on each list got one point, while number 1 on each list got 15. The criteria for who was included was pretty simple: players the Flames control who are 23 and under (excluding Mikael Backlund, since he’s already a bona fide NHLer).

Even though Granlund is under 6 feet (barely – 5’11) and only 172 pounds (but he just turned 19 a month ago), he plays a style of game that’s an odd combination of skill and muck. When the World Juniors were held in Calgary and Edmonton in December/January, I had the chance to see him in action for a couple of games live. Obviously the caveats are in place regarding small sample size, but to me Markus is a straight-up playmaker, almost to a fault.

He has that one second too late syndrome – you know, the thing guys like Alex Tanguay have – where he holds on to the puck in an attempt to make a play when he probably should’ve just shot instead and ends up killing the chance. Obviously, that is a huge problem, and probably something that will be much more apparent in faster leagues. Various scouting reports say his skating could use some help, but he seemed to move around the ice just fine when I saw him. 

He had an excellent season last year, playing with HIFK Helsinki of the SM-liiga where he put up 34 points in 47 games as an 18-year old. The guy is just slick out there, as he also seems to have that uncanny ability where he can avoid contact if he chose to but often instead throws his body around. 

I like the way the kid plays, that’s for sure… but we’ll have to wait until he’s done with his military service to see him really up close and personal.

The List 

Player   Kent   Justin   WI   Scott   VF   Arik (NC)   Final Rank
Markus Granlund   7   6   0   10   13   8   9
Bill Arnold   11   11   0   11   8   5   10
Greg Nemisz   9   13   0   5   15   15   11
Paul Byron   12   10   0   12   11   9   12
John Ramage   14   12   0   0   12   10   13
Chris Breen   0   15   0   13   0   14   14
Tyler Wotherspoon   0   14   0   0   10   0   15 

  • Colin.S

    I completely forgot about this kid really, 9 seems high for some reason, but he`s obviously more skilled than a lot of others on this list. Just something seems off and I don`t know what it is.

    • From what I’ve seen, Granlund is more methodical and less frenetic than Hagman. He’s probably a much better passer but not quite as quick a skater.

      Related: Hagman played in the SM-liiga as an 18-year old as well, but barely made a dent on the scoresheet (8 games, 1 point)…so Granlund is way ahead of him in that regard. The first time Hagman was an impact player in Finland was 2000-01 when he was 21/22 years old (28 goals, 46 points in 56 games).

  • My impression was slightly different than yours when it comes to the WJC. That said, I only watched him really closely for an exhibition game against the Canadians.

    In that contest he rarely engaged physically along the boards. It seemed clear he didn’t want much to do with the rough stuff and didn’t much expect to win any puck battles he was in.

    Of course, it was one game against probably the roughest team in the tournament.

  • loudogYYC

    I saw Granlund vs Slovakia and he really seemed like a perimeter player. Armia, Maatta and the older Granlund were standouts for sure, and knowing that I was hoping that Markus would at least look closer to those 3 but he didn’t really show much until the 3rd period. One game doesn’t tell the whole story, but still.

    I’m curious as to why VF ranks him so low? I unfortunately have him ranked top 6 in my head, and I say unfortunately cuz I don’t think he’ll be an impact player.

    • Vintage Flame

      I’m curious as to why VF ranks him so low?

      Actually loudog, you kind of answered your question before you even asked it.

      I saw Granlund vs Slovakia and he really seemed like a perimeter player.

      I agree with you here.

      I had the opportunity to see quite a few of the WJHC games and I was trying to watch as many of the Flames prospects as I could.

      There were players like Bill Arnold that really impressed me, which explains why I ranked him 8th. Then when I watched Granlund, I just got the impression that he was still a pretty timid player that liked to keep to the perimeter. He wasn’t eager to engage the play and while that might come from being a young player of small-ish stature that is playing in the Finnish Elite League, he didn’t seem to step the play up amongst his peers. And he seemed to remain in his brother’s shadow.

      He definitely has the skill to move up in his ranking as a prospect. While he has very good hands, he still needs to work on a few aspects of his game; a few too many for me to put him in the top 10 just yet.

      Like Justin mentioned in the article, I agree that Markus tends to hold the puck a little too long. Given that he is of the play-maker nature, I would like to see him setting up the play a little quicker to create more offensive opportunities. I think he needs to work on his skating as well. If he is going to be a skilled puck distributor, then he will have to learn to draw opposition players to him without losing the puck. Given that he doesn’t have the physical stature to hold off the opposition, he will need to rely more on his skating to be effective.

      Answer your question?

  • I saw Granlund several times at the WJC and he didn’t impress at all. Of course, neither did Mikael so that just goes to show not to put too much stock into one international tournament.

    However, it’s the only time I’ve seen him live so that’s all I have to really go by… hence 10. Like I said following my ranking of Nemisz at 5… the middle of the pack when it comes to Flames prospects is a jumbled mess of players who may or may not ever do anything.

    Someone mentioned Hagman as a comp… I think that would be quite a compliment for Granlund – I’d lean more towards Paul Byron, to keep it close to home.

  • RexLibris

    I know we need skill & we have some skill coming but I was wondering if with his brother in Minnesota, Minny might be interested in trading for him & we give up Markus + for Minny’s 1st rounder? Just a thought.

  • RexLibris


    A prospect ranked 9th on the Flames depth chart worth the 7th overall pick?

    That would have to be heavy on the “+”.

    Too bad there isn’t a “Wild” Nations site to propose that and test the response.

  • loudogYYC

    If the Flames have any brains they’ll be pushing him hard as hell to develop his lower body strength this summer in order to better his skating and physical compete levels. He has potential.

  • MC Hockey

    Maybe the Wild would like the Granlund brothers together thinking it would get them a “Sedin-like” tandem, perhaps it would work if they had a big guy on their line to intimidate the other team (and protect them). Or maybe the Flames even? Perhaps this possiblity it not that unrealistic all?

  • MC Hockey

    @mchockey – I’d like the idea of packaging Granlund with something else if it meant bring back Charlie Coyle. Unfortuantely, I don’t think there’s any way the Wild would let him go.