Markus Granlund Scouting Report



I recently reached out to SM-liiga Editor and writer Matias Strozyk for some insight on Flames prospect Markus Granlund. He kindly agreed to answer some of my questions.

Kent Wilson: You have followed Markus Granlund’s development for awhile now. What would you say are his strengths as a player?

Matias Strozyk: Markus has excellent offensive skills. Mikael is a fantastic playmaker and is better overall, obviously, but Markus has the same confidence to hold onto the puck and create chances. Even though Markus has a pretty decent shot, he stands out for his passes and playmaking. He makes smart passes to keep the puck moving and the game flowing.

Markus also positions himself well to either create a play, offer a teammate a chance to pass or set himself up for a scoring chance. He’s got a massive hunger for points but lacks the same attitude in the defensive end.

KW: What are his main weaknesses?

MS: Obviously he needs to gain a lot of strength and this coming summer is a big opportunity for him to develop his physique. That should also improve his skating since his speed suffers from the lack of strength in his legs. He’s gotten a lot better in both areas in the past year.

Occasionally it also seemed like Markus was still playing in junior leagues where he was able to dominate against virtually every opponent. He tried to make plays that don’t work against professionals and should be more straightforward and stick to his strengths. He also has a lot of work ahead in his two-way game since sometimes he was pretty lost in the defensive zone. Some of that is simpy about his attitude and work ethic which has plenty of room for improvement in terms of defense.

KW: I saw Markus live in a game again Team Canada during the the World Junior Championships. He seemed tentative in the corners and generally uninterested in physical battles for the puck. Is that an accurate representation of some of his short-comings, or was that a case of a bad game or just struggling under different circumstances?

MS: Markus is grittier and more aggressive than his brother. I was actually surprised about how often he was the one in the middle of scrums after the whistle. On the other that’s one example of doing things he shouldn’t really have to be dealing with now that he’s no longer playing against teenagers, it’s not a part of his role – not that it’s a problem.

Markus seemed a bit soft at the World Juniors to me as well and it wasn’t the most accurate representation of his skill. He actually came back from the WJC looking like a better player than he was going in, and even scored a few goals from right in front of the net, which isn’t exactly his favourite part of the ice. He wasn’t as willing to get into battles in the juniors so a year in the pros has certainly benefited his physicality.

KW: I recently looked at Granlund’s results for HIFK this year and discovered he had the second highest point-per-game pace amongst teenagers in the league, next to only his brother Mikael. Is he considered one of the best young forwards in Finland?

MS: Absolutely. There have been quite a few young prospects in the spotlight here lately and that has stolen some of the attention Markus deserves. He’s not among the top 5 prospects or the top 3 forwards but it’s still far more likely that he’ll end up as a decent NHLer than be stuck in Europe for all of his career. Mikael is in a completely different class and his biggest challenger seems to be 2013 prospect Alexander Barkov.

Markus has a lot of similarities with 2012 draft eligible Teuvo Teräväinen but Teräväinen, too, is ahead of him in pretty much every aspect – except maybe competitive spirit, that’s what drives Markus forward. It’s difficult to project his future since I’m not yet sure he has what it takes to be a top 6 forward in the NHL and on the other hand he’s not the type of player to put in your 3rd or 4th line.

KW: Mikael Granlund is obviously one of the best young prospects in hockey. How much of Markus’ performance for Helsinki this year was dependent on his older brother? Related – how do you expect Markus to do next year with Mikael playing in the NHL with the Wild?

MS: At first it seemed like he needed Mikael next to him to create opportunities and if you look at Markus’ goals, especially early in the season, a big portion of them involved Mikael. Of course one could explain that with the fact that Markus often played in the same line and they obviously had very good chemistry.

His "dependency" on Mikael changed a bit in the last few months of the season when Mikael was far from his level, even downright bad – just like he was againt North Americans at the Worlds in May. Markus, on the other hand, had a good run and scored 18 points in 21 games during the last two months of regular season. The post-WJC part of the season turned out to be his best even though that was the time Mikael pretty much disappeared from the picture.

It will be interesting to see what happens next season. It’s a big year for Markus, that’s for sure. HIFK lost a lot of talent, inluding three of their centers, and Markus should grab a big role from the top two lines.

Thanks to Matias for his insight. You can find his work at elite prospects and follow him on twitter here.

  • Good to hear as usual Kent! Glad to hear that so far he is projecting to come to the NHL once his military service is done and he has a year or two more under his belt of hockey in Finland. I’m also really glad that he may have a chance (eventually at cracking the top 6).

  • Oyo

    This post doesn’t inspire much confidence that markus will be ready for the NHL anytime soon. Hopefully he takes this summer to work on a few faults cuz they seem to be quite glaring at this point. Gotta have at least SOME two way abilities nowadays. Esspecially if they’re not an elite level offensive talent

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Well its not like he’s an early 1st rounder & expected or hoped to break into the NHL that soon after being drafted. Sounds to me that he is young, developing and has the raw skills to be a top 6 player. A full season out of the shadow of his brother will make the scouting report a real interesting read a year from now.

    I still think it would be intriguing to see if the Wild would be willing to overpay to acquire him. I would dearly love to add their 1st round pick this year. Wonder what we would have to package with him to pry that 1st out of them.

    • I don’t think the Flames have anything they could use to pry 7th overall from a divisional rival. Markus Had a fine season and all, but there’s no real reason to value him over the 2nd round pick Calgary used to choose him in the first place.

  • RexLibris

    Granlund’s scouting report sounds like the kind of player that teams sign and then let sit a long while playing overseas.

    He’s a 19/20 year old this season, correct? He may not become an NHL-ready players, in terms of strength and maturity, until he is closer to 25.

    As long as Flames management can be patient and Granlund continues to develop overseas (HIFK, KHL, SEL) then in five years the team may have room for an undersized perimeter scoring threat on their second line.

    Rushing him right now, though, or trying to make an immediate decision on whether to keep or move him wouldn’t be in the team’s best interests, in my opinion.


    While blood is thicker than water, I don’t think that Minnesota has any filial loyalty to the Granlunds. I believe it would be Calgary doing the overpaying for that pick.

    I have been knocking around some ideas of assets the Oilers could move to acquire Minnesota’s or Anaheim’s pick (7th and 6th, respectively) and I think the starting price would be something in the range of Magnus Paajarvi and perhaps either Omark or a mid round draft pick. That is what I believe either of those teams would be asking for in that draft slot.

    Could the Flames afford to beat that package? The #14 pick, Granlund, perhaps Glencross (assuming he waives the NTC)? Not sure that is what either of those teams would be looking for. Simply put, I don’t know if the Flames have the assets that other teams want right now in that price range.

    The only other trade idea that comes to mind is if Iginla went to Minnesota in exchange for Mikael Granlund and the 7th overall pick. But that is a whole other can of worms. 😉

  • RexLibris

    @ Rex & Kent:
    Rex, I would say where do I sign if the older Granlund & Minny’s 1st was offered for Iggy 🙂

    Rex & Kent: That seems to be the problem, Flames assets are just too far & few that we cant part with the ones other teams are going to ask for. Perhaps Markus stock will go up if he follows next year up with a real solid year. I’m just so impatient to start getting some high end young prospects that would be covetted in the Flames stable.

    Our problem is that Flames assets that we are actually prepared to part with are more the season trade deadline assets variety. Not many are prepared to trade youth for age, especially at the draft where the whole mind set is youth. That is why people need to understand that the only way to start putting bluechip prospects into our coffers will take two things: 1/ We have to reluctantly let Kipper & Iggy move on & 2/ we got to stop being mediocre.
    The two are related & we have been trying to straddle the pickett fence for way too long, something is going to get stuck 🙁

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Totally off topic. But will Flamesnation continue the profiles on prospective free agents? I know there was one on Parise and Smyth. I would love to see one on RWs (Hudler, Jagr, Semin) and D (Wideman, Kubina, Jackman, Suter). It would also be interesting to see one on defensive Cs (Stoll, Gaustad)

  • Colin.S

    Not really a profile that strikes a ton of confidence to be sure. The kid sounds like a scoring threat, but then when the profile is given that he doesn’t like the defensive side of hockey or that it’s pretty well top 6 or bust, not really something you want to hear out of your prospects really.

    I think people should probably hold back their expectations a lot on this kid. He could very well be a 2nd line NHLer in the future maybe 3rd line if he figures it out defensively, but I don’t think that is going to happen soon, if anything probably not for 3-4 years.

    • That’s pretty much in line with my own expectations of the kid. Let’s not forget he’s a second round pick…which end up being meaningful NHLers somewhere around 15% of the time.

      Aside from the odd exception, pretty much every second rounder has some notable problem in their game that has to be addressed before they become pros.

      Granlund’s numbers this year and encouraging and it’s good to know his offensive skills are legit. He still has a long ways to go to become a worthwhile NHLer though.

      • ChinookArchYYC

        Hi Kent,

        Last off season, FN had an article that comprehensively discussed the success rate of draft picks starting with the top 10 then first round vs 2nd and 3rd etc. Any chance you could re-publish it? It was great.

  • Sobueno

    For where he was picked it was a good choice. He ‘s obviously a guy who will need a few years to mature, get stronger and develop at his own pace. Couple more years in Europe, may a year in the AHL.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Marcus Grandlund has intrigued me for a full season now. If this kid is playing against men, and doing at least okay, it may well serve him well as he get’s bigger and stronger. I really liked hearing that he has a high compete level, this coupled with some skill may prove to be very valuable to the Flames.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    @ chinook arch – yeah, the lack of D doesn’t really concern me that much. It’s incredibly common for most players of that age/skill level, regardless of the league/country they play in. Takes them a while to appreciate that one comes from the other. Like I said, when/if he adds strength and maturity he should be a player because the skills and compete level are there.

  • Graham


    ‘not even backlund,nemisz and a pick? maybe the flames move their granlund to minny for a reasonable return?’

    Backlund is looking like a good third line center, Nemisz lacks the speed and mobility to be much more than a fourth liner, and our pick is middle of the pack.(#14) If I was Minny I wouldn’t even consider it.

    Granlund to Minny might make more sense. A package of our 14th pick with Granlund might land their 7th overall pick. Depending on who was available at 7th, it might add something more than 2nd line upside to the prospet pool.