Flames Top 15 Prospects 2013: #11 Markus Granlund

Markus Granlund

Mikael Granlund’s little brother takes a small step back in our rankings this year, moving from 9th to 11th. After his draft+1 season our praise for Markus was fairly effusive, mostly because he was the second highest scoring teen in the SM-Liiga after his older brother. That’s nice company to keep.

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The biggest question with Granlund heading into this season was how he would fare without older bro Mikael around (he made the jump to the AHL/NHL) and the results from this past year were…somewhat ambiguous but not terribly encouraging. After scoring 15 goals and 34 points in 47 games for HIFK last year (0.72 PPG) he fell back to just 10 goals and 30 points in 50 games this year (0.6 PPG).

That’s not a terribly big difference, but one of the key, indicative arrows for prospects is whether they meaningfully improve and develop as they age. Running in place or taking a step back in subsequent years sometimes indicates a guy has already peaked or that his prior results were dependent on idiosyncratic circumstances. 

  Justin Ryan Kent Hayley BoL
Granlund 9 NR 7 8 9

All that said, Granlund’s underwhelming season in Finland was punctuated by an outstanding World Junior Championships where he finished as one of the tournaments leading scorers (5g-7a-12pts in 6 games). Only Canada’s Ryan Nugent Hopkins scored more (15 points in 6 games). Of course, one should never get too excited about point totals in very small sample tournaments like the WJC since weird things can happen in only a few games, but it’s worth noting that Granlund nevertheless excelled against some of the best players of his age in the world.

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In terms of skills, Granlund is a smallish center/winger who tends to pass more than shoot. His vision and playmaking are usually listed as strengths whereas his size, defensive game and strength are his most obvious obstacles. His production from this past season translates roughly to an NHLE of 27, which falls outside where you’d expect to see future scorers in their draft+2 year. Typically you want to see potential top-6 guys managing a 35+ NHLE at this point in their development.


Granlund is one of the better offensive prospects in the Flames system currently, but he will need to start scoring at a greater pace if he is to seriously contend for a spot on the team a few years down the road. Markus isn’t built to play a checking or grinding role, so his ticket to the show will be punched with goals and assists, or else he’ll probably wash out completely.

Next season we’ll see if his step back this year was a blip or if Markus really was riding his brother’s coattails during his noteworthy rookie season in Helsinki.

Flames top 15 Prospects

    • it might be soon actually. They signed him to an ELC. I’d like to see him have one undisputedly good year in the SM-Liiga before crossing the pond, though.


      Personally I think Markus’s shot is underrated. Watching him in the WJC, the puck was absolutely exploding off his stick. It was more about accuracy and a Collberg-esque release than power, though.

  • Colin.S

    Does anyone else have this feeling he just never plays for the Flames? I don’t know why, just have a feeling he gets traded or never comes over, or something.

  • piscera.infada

    At this point, does Granlund have any trade value as a prospect? It may be the time, if in fact his development hits a brick wall. I would assume he has some value to a team that sees this year as an aberration, rather than a sign of things to come.

  • piscera.infada

    I’m just thinking that as part of a package including a roster player and/or a pick and/or cap relief for a team, he could probably boost its value quite a bit.

    Or, is this just a pipe-dream in which I over-value an asset?

  • SmellOfVictory

    Speaking of prospects, Wotherspoon just played the entire last 2 minutes and 234 seconds vs London. He also chipped in with a goal. If this guy develops, we have a gem.

    • SmellOfVictory

      He undoubtedly benefits playing with Jones, but still. Mighty impressive. I’ve always liked him (and I liked the pick at the time) but it wasn’t until this year that I thought there might be some real upside to the guy.

        • Wouldn’t it be great to find out that Wotherspoon carried the mail, as opposed to Jones doing so? Avs walk away with a (useful) but not really THAT great of a D-man (like they all think), CGY gets the better of the 2.

          Doubtful it’s actually like that, but one can dream.

          • RexLibris

            Wotherspoon does carry the mail in the defensive zone in that pairing due to style and a 2 year age difference. He may actually always be better than Jones in that end of the ice as Jones does not play physically.

    • mattyc

      Yeah the ‘step back in the rankings’ is a little misleading, since everyone else ranked him 7-9…

      Maybe you guys need a bit more of a robust method for dealing with outliers ;).

  • RexLibris

    So Granlund’s offensive abilities are just slightly above average but his weaknesses are size and defensive awareness. That is not a good combination when projecting for a professional career.

    I suspect he’ll have a better career than Nemisz (mentioned above), but I’m not sure what his long-term prospects are. He may get a number of reps with the Flames in the next few years as they cycle their prospects through some emerging roster holes.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I still have some higher hopes in Grandlund, but I’d like this player to come and play in NA soon. I’d like to see him compete in leagues that are tougher (more violent), and excel as a skilled forward. His brother is an interesting comparison. Both play a similar game with Mikeal being much better, the older brother was nearly at a point a game and still struggled at the NHL level before being demoted this year. IMO in Markus’ case he should jump right into the fire and get acclimated sooner than later.

    • RexLibris

      That was my thought as well. I don’t see Granlund as a fit in Calgary. He looks to me like another smallish skilled forward that we already have in Sven & Jonny G. After a decent WJ, he should definitely be one of the prospects we dangle to the likes of Minnesota. Like Heatley(salary dump), their 1st for Granlund, Brossoit & our 3rd rounder? We can flip Heatley next trade deadline & get an extra mid 1st. Minny gets needed Cap relief, a 3rd & a prospect that is the brother of one of their top prospects who play well together. Just spitballing here.

        • MC Hockey

          I guess you gotta give up something in order to get the first-rounder the guy is suggesting. And we do have a high number of goalies, unsure of quality however.

          • T&A4Flames

            I get that. But an offer like that, Brossoit, Granlund a pick AND we take back a big salary dump is 1st a huge overpay and 2nd, and most important, counter productive to our rebuild. All for a mid 1st rnd’r? Makes no sense to me.

          • Franko J

            Well, here is my rationale. The teams management are pretty darn high on both Ramo & Berra. Macdonald is just pollyfilla while we see what we have. If even one of them steps up to be a decent NHL level starter, the highest Brossoit will get is some back up or injury games & he hasn’t proven anything yet. In fact he is probably behind Ortio on the depth chart & Gilles is breathing right down his back. He is a very highly touted goalie based on his WHL stats. That puts trade value on the potential side of the ledger. Granlund could be appealing to Minny because of his brother. Another 1st in the 15-16 range is huge. The 3rd rounder is easily replaceable with flipping Heatley next TDL. The 4th 1st rounder allows us to package that & the STL pick for a top 10 pick. I would gladly give Granlund & Brossoit for a mid 1st & eating Heatly for 1 year, yeah why not, they still have to put people in the seats next year as well by trying to win a few games. Every 1st rounder in this draft will give us a huge building block in this rebuild. There are some very very good players to be had in the top 20 this year. Imagine having 3 of them challenging for the team in the next 2 years along with Jonny G, Tspoon & Seiloff. Heatley may even get us a 2014 1st with any luck next year.

  • The Last Big Bear

    I don’t think this Granlund is NHL material.

    Sucks defensively, and doesn’t produce offensively like a legit NHL prospect should.

    Unfortunately, he might actually still be the Flames 11th best prospect, and that makes me sad.

  • SmellOfVictory

    He is a playmaker on a crappy team with no scorers. The fact get treaded water is encouraging.

    We will probably see him in the AHL this season and find out what we have.

  • Franko J

    When Calgary first drafted Grandlund in the second round it was probably predicated on the fact that scouting was given the directive to draft for skill first. In hindsight Grandlund was anti-Sutter style selection. I agree that the only way Grandlund proves he is a legit prospect is to come over a spend a season in the
    AHL. Whether you trade him at the draft or trade him next season if he is not successful at the AHL level his market value is not that high to begin with. I think give Grandlund the opportunity to prove his worth. Best case scenario is he proves his worth and becomes a steady NHLer. The worst case scenario he under preforms and goes back to Finland. If they give guys like Howse and Nemisz a chance {not to mention Cervenka} why not him?

  • mattyc


    1. We should move Granlund while he still has value. With Baertshi/Gaudreau and with Reinhart and Backlund looking like locks as 3/2 Centers respectively. I don’t think Granlund will be the number one center we need, and we are likely to draft a better candidate this draft. I only advocate (typically I would be against such a move as we need skilled prospects) for this because we already have some small forwards with skill. The move I would like to see is Granlund+Butler to Minnesota for Cal Clutterbuck. We could really use a player like that. We finished pretty low in hits this year and that would have no problem running over your grandmother.

    2. I think Wotherspoon should be a few spots ahead of Granlund in the rankings. He will surely be an NHLer – maybe in 2013. He has helped Jones’ stock rise this season and could be a good partner for a younger Dman. He definitely could crack our top 4 in the next 2-3 years while Granlund will likely struggle to make our roster in that time.

  • BurningSensation

    I said last year that I thought Wotherspoon could be a ‘Seabrook-lite’ at the NHL level. If he keeps playing like he has, he could move up to ‘Full-Seabrook’. I definitely think he ranks well ahead of Granlund.

    The loss of his brother from the team clearly hurt Granlund’s #s this year. He does have ‘ok’ size (he is miles ahead of being a pure smurf like Gaudreau), and his WJC performance was very nice, so I’m ok with where he is right now, and remain optimistic he’ll get a cup of coffee in Calgary at some point.

    As long as we are spitballing ideas for the upcoming draft (and we will always be spitballing ideas for an upcoming draft);

    Option #1
    – Baertschi and a future 2nd to Nash for the 4th overall

    Use the 4th and 6th picks to draft Barkov and Lindholm, and the 22nd to select a Compher/Domi/Wannberg/Horvat/Gauthier/Petan – solidifying us at center for a generation.

    Option #2
    – The Pitt 1st to Tampa Bay for their 1st, and Lecavalier, *minus $2M a year for 5 years that the Bolts agree to eat on Big Vinny’s contract (making it; $8m, $8m, $8m, $6.5, $2, $1.5, $1.5), with a cap hit of $5.5m (though maybe we still have to eat the full cap-hit, I’m not certain).

    Again we select Barkov and Lindholm, and now have Vinny (at 4/5ths the cost) to shelter them as they develop.

    I thought these might be hard questions to pose; is the #4 pick worth Baertschi? (probably to Nashville, which is why I felt I needed to add a pick), and, if you could make Lecavalier’s contract slightly less ridiculous, could you find a way to thread the needle in getting the Bolts pick?