The Vancouver Canucks have traded former first round pick Hunter Shinkaruk to the Calgary Flames for Markus Granlund.
Granlund is a 22-year-old centre that has split time with the Flames and their AHL affiliate in Stockton. The former 2nd round pick by the Flames in 2011 has put up good numbers in the AHL, and has 7 points in 31 games with the Flames this season.
In 85 career AHL games, Granlund has 72 points. He has 28 points in 86 career NHL games.
“He’s a two way player that can play in any situation, up and down in the lineup” GM Jim Benning said in a conference call. Benning sees Granlund as a skilled player that can kill penalties and play centre or on the wing. “We like his competitiveness, he’s not afraid to compete hard in battles.”
Shinkaruk is 18 months younger than Granlund and has appeared in just one NHL game in his career to date. The Calgary-born winger was passed over by the Flames in 2013 Draft, before being chosen by former Canucks GM Mike Gillis 24th overall. After struggling through his first pro season last year, he leads the Comets in scoring this season with 39 points in 45 games.
“We did our due diligence with Hunter around the league” Benning said, later adding that they tried to acquire a young defenceman for Shinkaruk. “He likes to score, we don’t know if that’s going to translate to the NHL or not.”
The trade confirms speculation that Canucks management wasn’t sold on Shinkaruk’s abilities.
This deal is a bit of a puzzling move for the rebuilding/retooling Canucks, who get a more NHL-ready player in Granlund with less upside. One would think that if the Canucks weren’t sold on Shinkaruk being able to make the jump to the NHL that they would have given him more than a one-game look.
Shinkaruk was cut rather early in training camp this year, and only got a one game look in the NHL, despite injuries opening up spots on numerous occasions.
Granlund will likely report to Vancouver and play for the Canucks on Thursday.