CALGARY, AB -- To be honest, Bob Hartley wasn't all that impressed with Markus Granlund at training camp.
Yes, he had some good moments but his overall performance was just okay.
As it turns out, maybe he just isn't a training camp guy.
"I'm starting to figure out... it's my second camp with [Granlund] and I'm figuring out that he is not a great training camp guy. He had an average training camp -- just like he did last year.
"We called him up last year and wow. I remember telling him to go back because we didn't have a jersey for him at that time. But I told him he would be back and he would do a good job for us."
This year, in his second stint with the Flames, Granlund has nine points in 10 games.
Additionally, he has been a steady presence defensively and has been a key component on the Flames penalty kill.
"His hockey sense is way above average," Hartley stated. "This kid is a real smart hockey player and pretty strong for his size. You look at him, he's not like a 6-foot-3 centreman but he's strong on the puck and makes good decisions.
"He's a competitor and he's got a good nose around the net and he doesn't shy away from tough areas and that's why he's collecting points."
This season, Hartley has Granlund centering Johnny Gaudreau and Jiri Hudler and he believes that the elder statesman of the line has had a great impact on Granlund's development.
"I think a guy that deserves lots of credit -- and we don't talk about him often enough -- is Jiri Hudler. He does a great job babysitting his two young brothers -- little [Johnny Gaurdreau] and [Granlund].
"They're always around Jiri. You see them in the room and he has little meetings with them. They can certainly learn from Jiri being around but [Granlund] has been a big player for us."
The Flames drafted the Finnish pivot in the second round (45th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft.