For the second year in a row the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames have put together a trade. Monday the teams announced a swap of 21-year-old Vancouver forward Hunter Shinkaruk and 22-year-old Calgary center Markus Granlund.
Granlund, a 2nd round pick in 2011 for the Flames, has found his way into 86 games over the last three seasons. He put up eight goals and 18 points in 48 games last season, looking like he was ready to progress into a NHL regular. This season he has contributed four goals and seven points through 31 games, while also posting five goals and nine points through 12 games with the Stockton Heat of the AHL.
Shinkaruk was selected 24th overall by the Canucks in 2013. He’s exploded this season in the AHL with 21 goals and 39 points in 45 games. He’s made his way into just a single NHL game this season. It was his NHL debut.
While Shinkaruk has been very productive at the AHL level, he’s frequently had his NHL potential questioned due to his size. He stands 5-foot-10, 181 pounds. However, the Canucks won’t be gaining much size in Granlund who stands six feet tall, but weighs in at 176 pounds.
Shinkaruk will report to the Stockton Heat.
The trade may boil down to Calgary taking a gamble on Shinkaruk’s dynamic speed and offensive upside. They’re obviously not scared to put their faith in a smaller forward with loads of skill. Vancouver gets a player who is probably a better bet at center in the NHL. Shinkaruk, though he played center in juniors, may transition to being more of a wing.
Granlund could be a very good third line center, capable of contributing offensively. His potential isn’t as great as Shinkaruk’s, but he may be seen as more of a sure thing at the NHL level, where there are a lot of questions about whether or not Shinkaruk’s skills will translate to the NHL.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.