After witnessing Mikael Granlund's perfectly executed lacrosse-style goal for eventual gold-medalist Finland in its victory against Russia in the semifinal round of the IIHF World Championship last month, the big question is whether his younger brother, Markus, would be able to execute the same type of play.
It's something NHL scouts and general managers probably were pondering as they put the younger Granlund through the interview process and then watched him undergo the fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto earlier this month.
The 5-foot-10, 169-pound playmaking specialist from Finland is No. 9 on NHL Central Scouting's ranking of European skaters eligible for the 2011 Entry Draft.
And Markus says he's already perfect the scintillating move Mikael made famous on a grander stage. However, he knows far from a copy of his brother.
"I have my own style, but he's my brother, so of course we learn from each other," Markus Granlund told NHL.com. "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."
Mikael Granlund, the ninth pick of the 2010 Entry Draft by the Minnesota Wild, had 36 points in 39 regular-season games with HIFK in the Finnish Elite League this season, but missed 21 games due to a concussion. He certainly made up for lost time in the World Championship with a move that now has been immortalized on a commemorative stamp in his native country.
The first-class mail stamp was designed around a press image of the goal as it went in, showing Granlund beating stunned Russian goalie Konstantin Barulin by scooping the puck off the ice and roofing it over the goalie's right shoulder. The goal held up as the winner as Finland won 3-0 to advance to the gold-medal game.
Markus Granlund, meanwhile, was captain for Finland at the World Under-18 Championship in Germany. He finished second on the team with 8 assists and 10 points as the team finished fifth.
He's regarded as a play-making forward with great vision and outstanding ability on the power play. Though not as strong as his brother, Markus was a consistent point producer in most games. In six games on loan with the Suomi Under-20 team in the Finnish second division, he had 3 goals and 6 points. He had 11 goals and 21 assists in 15 international games for Finland this season.
In 40 games with the Under-20 HIFK club, he had an impressive 20 goals and 52 points. He's expected to play in the SM-liiga full time for HIFK in 2011-12.
"It was a good season but we lost in the quarterfinals of the (playoffs), so that's a bad thing," Markus Granlund told NHL.com. "I'm excited for the Draft. It was exciting last year waiting to hear my brother's name."
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