He's a wildcard in my mind and he's someone I'm anxious to see when he's up against the top guys on these other teams and teams that are our rivals. - Flames general manager Jay Feaster
CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames will have plenty of fire power at the 2013 Young Stars Classic in Penticton, BC next month.
The Flames three 2013 first round draft picks Sean Monahan, Emile Poirier and Morgan Klimchuk will be there.
Sven Baertschi, who has 25 NHL games on his resume, and Ben Hanowski, who scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game last spring, will be suiting up in the rookie tournament.
The three-game affair will be Corban Knight's first step to earning a spot on the Flames roster.
And while Flames general manager Jay Feaster is eager to see all of these forwards face off against the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks top prospects, he is particularly excited to see one player who hasn't had received as much attention as some of his fellow prospects.
"If there is one guy I really am anxious to see, it would have to be Markus Granlund," Feaster told Sportsnet 960 The Fan last week. "When you look at what he did this past season over in Europe and I thought he was one of the most pleasant surprises of development camp."
Granlund spent the 2012-13 season with in SM-liiga with HIFK in Finland, scoring 10 goals and 30 points in 50 games - good for second in team scoring. He also played for Finland in the 2013 World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia. While the Finns were disappointed with their seventh place finish, Granlund excelled from a personal standpoint, scoring 5 goals and 12 points in 6 games.
During the Flames development camp in July, Granlund impressed Feaster in both scrimmages on more than one front. Centering Baertschi and Flames 2012 draft pick Coda Gordon, the Oulu, FIN product was dominant in the offensive zone and was reliable in his own end - an area he has markedly improved in since participating in the 2012 camp.
"He looked very, very comfortable at center ice, was doing a good job two-way, doing a good job on face-offs ... he's a guy we know can make plays, he can score goals."
The Flames signed the 20 year-old to a three-year entry-level deal on Apr. 19 and he's expected to make the leap to North America this fall. If his play at development camp is any indication, Granlund could be one of the youngsters on the cusp of earning time with the Flames this upcoming season.
"He's a wildcard in my mind and he's someone I'm anxious to see when he's up against the top guys on these other teams and teams that are our rivals," Feaster commented. "I'm anxious to see what he does there."
The 2013 Young Stars Classic takes place Sept. 5-9 in Penticton, BC. Tournament ticket packages, which include a ticket to eight tournament games, are $70 plus applicable fees. Tickets are available online at www.valleyfirsttix.com, by phone at 1-877-763-2849, or in person at the Valley First Box Office at the South Okanagan Events Centre or at Penticton & Wine Country Visitor Centre.
View the Flames full Young Stars Classic roster HERE.