A smart and competitive two-way forward that boasts an elite-level skill package. Tremendous hands and puck skills compliment the accurate release on his shot. Not an explosive skater, but mobile to a professional degree. Understands his game and what is expected of him, but can start to play out of his box when trying to exceed expectations. When playing with confidence, he knows his abilities and plays to their extent. Excellent passer as well as a shooter; consistently exhibits keen awareness and hockey sense. Strong defensively and can move the puck out of his zone very well due to his tendency to play the game in lanes. Game by game he works on the small things, and looks for ways to make an impact in the offensive and defensive end. He will only get better. [EP]
Markus Granlund, like his older brother Mikael Granlund, grew up playing ice hockey in the Oulu Region in Northern Finland. In 2008 he moved to the junior ranks of Oulun Kärpät. The following year Kärpät had a contract dispute with Mikael, which resulted in the brothers moving to Helsinki to play for HIFK.
While older brother Mikael made the jump to SM-liiga, Markus honed his skills in the HIFK U20 team. It is notable that while Markus did play a handful of U18 between 2008 and 2010, he, like his brother, quickly progressed from the U16 level to U20 level. After two seasons in the U20 ranks, Markus made the jump to SM-liiga.
Despite being among the best Finnish players of his age group, he was not as touted as his older brother who was a first round NHL pick and had become SM-liiga Champion and World Champion before Markus started playing professionally. The Calgary Flames picked him on the second round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The fame of his brother shadowed him, but he proved to be more than just the brother of a hockey phenomenon. In his first professional season he was the highest scoring rookie in SM-liiga and put up respectable numbers in the following season as well.
Following his second season with HIFK in SM-liiga, Granlund signed to a three-year entry-level contract by the Calgary Flames. Despite having a clause to play in Finland, he opted to stay in North America. He spent the majority of the season in the AHL with the Abbotsford Heat. In his first month he struggled a bit, but picked up the pace once he adjusted to life abroad. In his first season in North America Granlund was the highest scoring rookie of his team and was named Rookie of the Month for February 2014.
His efforts in Abbotsford were quickly noticed by the Calgary Flames. He was eventually called up to play in the NHL and made his NHL debut on February 27, 2014. He logged his first point, an assist, in his third game with the Flames. Incidentally in that game against the Minnesota Wild he faced his brother Mikael.
Markus Granlund draws comparisons with his brother Mikael, but despite the competitive relationship with his brother he tends to distance himself from it. The shadow of his brother could have been a bane to him, but he has managed to use that to his benefit, striving to establish himself on his own terms. As evident in many photos, on ice he looks ordinary and seemingly uninterested with little room for emotion, but it is likely just his way of staying poised and confident. In other words, as seen both in SM-liiga and in the AHL, his seemingly phlegmatic disposition can be deceptive.
- Scored a "lacrosse-style" goal in an SM-liiga game on November 17, 2011. The move is a Granlund brothers signature trick that he and his brother trained to do in their youth.