Markus Granlund was an unexpected regular for the Calgary Flames last season. The 22-year-old centre played 48 games for Calgary in 2014-15, and just 21 in the AHL, largely in part thanks to various injuries to his teammates.
Well, injuries have once again worked in Granlund's favour. During the Flames' game against the St. Louis Blues, Ryan Reaves threw a hit that ended up breaking Lance Bouma's leg, putting him on the shelf for an anticipated three months. That means the Flames need another forward, and that forward so happens to be Granlund. He has been recalled from the Stockton Heat.
Stockton has only played one game so far this season, a 7-0 drubbing of the Rockford Ice Hogs. Granlund had a powerplay goal and primary assist in the dominating win.
In 2014-15, Granlund scored 17 points in 21 games for the Adirondack Flames, so at minimum, he's clearly a great AHL player. In the NHL, he started off strong - he had a three-game scoring streak to start off his first recall, and scored nine points in his first 10 games - but fell off soon after, going on a seven-game scoring drought.
He slid as the season went on, only scoring eight more points over 38 games. Granlund went through numerous recalls and occasional healthy scratches, as he became the de facto injury replacement up front.
Granlund likely got worn down over the course of the NHL season, caught in a situation not necessarily ideal for him. As the Flames' most NHL-ready prospect, though, it's him who gets the call. Granlund was the final cut of the Flames' camp this season, and may be on the cusp of becoming a full time NHLer already.
What's interesting about this recall is that Granlund is a centre. This leaves the Flames with an excess at the position: in addition to Sean Monahan, Sam Bennett, Mikael Backlund, and Matt Stajan, the Flames also have Josh Jooris as an option; and now, Granlund.
However, the Flames may be experimenting with their lineup down the middle. Bennett was on Backlund's wing in the morning skate, and Jooris, who has been a healthy scratch the past two games, played on the right wing in the season opener. Granlund just adds the option for additional flexibility.