When the Edmonton Oilers announced their Phase 3 training camp roster last week, there were several veteran names left off. Mike Green was among them after opting out of the return to play format, while Markus Granlund was another.
It was easy to see why the latter wasn’t included. Granlund had been sent to the minors in March before the season was suspended and didn’t look like he had much of a future with the organization. That idea was furthered when reports surfaced at the end of May that Granlund would be signing in the KHL after his contract with the Oilers expired, but at that time it appeared as though he would still be available for the club should the 2019-20 season resume.
Now that he has been left off of the roster, Granlund has indeed signed a contract with Salavat Yulaev Ufa in the KHL. The deal is for two seasons and may effectively mark the end of the 27-year old’s NHL career.
Granlund at one point actually looked like quite an impressive prospect. A second-round pick of the Calgary Flames in 2011, he put up huge numbers playing in Finland before eventually making the jump to North America. In the minor leagues, Granlund quickly became a star, tallying 25 goals and 46 points in 52 games as a rookie for the Abbotsford Heat. The NHL wasn’t quite as kind however and that promising young prospect was shipped to Vancouver in 2016 for Hunter Shinkaruk.
While he did have a 19-goal campaign for the Canucks, Granlund never has really fulfilled his potential on a consistent basis. In 2019-20 he split the year between the NHL and AHL, recording only four points in his 34 games for the Oilers.
He will be an unrestricted free agent again after this two-year pact expires, but it is hard to believe Granlund will ever be an impact player in the NHL again.