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Prospect Profile: Markus Granlund

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames
CALGARY, AB -- Hockey fans around the world are familiar with the name Granlund after the 2011 IIHF World Championship.

In the semi-finals, Mikael Granlund, a first round draft pick of the Minnesota Wild in 2010, carried the puck behind the Russian net through traffic, scooped the puck onto the blade of his stick and sent it past the netminder with a lacrosse-style shot from the side of the net.

Finland went on to win the gold medal in the tournament but even that accomplishment has been overshadowed by "The Goal." In fact, the 19 year-old even has a postage stamp dedicated to the goal in his home country.

That kind of performance would put a lot of pressure on most younger siblings entering into the same profession but Markus Granlund is unfazed.

"I can do that move too," he said, trying to contain a grin.

The 18 year-old was the Calgary Flames second round draft pick (45th overall) at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and the club is hoping the younger Granlund also possesses the raw talent brother Mikael exudes.

Granlund admits there are similarities in the way he and his brother plays but is quick to caution they're far from carbon copies of each other on the ice.

"I have my own style, but he's my brother, so of course we learn from each other," he told "I'm not so sure what things he might learn from me, though. Mikael's got more power and he's stronger than me but we are our own players."

Granlund's greatest strength is his vision. He understands the game better than most his age and is an adept playmaker because of it.

"He is just outstanding with his understanding of the game and smart, cool passes," NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb told "Even if he was two years younger than most players in the Finnish junior league, he was the third-best scorer, and by far the most important player on the team."

He has been a consistent point producer throughout his career and shows no signs of slowing down. In 40 games last year with the HIFK's team in the Junior 'A' SM-liiga he had 20 goals, 52 points and a plus-5 rating.

Another assest is Granlund's skill on the power play. Stubb noted he is at his best during the man advantage, utilizing his ability to see the ice to make plays that more often than not end up in the back of the net.

At the moment, Granlund's stature is his biggest hindrance. At 5'10 and 169 lbs, he knows he needs to add bulk to his frame if he wants to play at the next level.

"Of course I like to play physical, but I'm not so strong and I don't have so much power," he said. "But I think I can also play a physical game."

Stubb did note his size could be a concern but is sure his skill more than makes up for it.

"He's an above-average skater, smallish, but compensates for his lack of size and strength with his outstanding vision."

Follow Torie Peterson on Twitter | @ToriePeterson
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