The Vancouver Canucks have unloaded 2013 first-rounder Hunter Shinkaruk in a deal that brings center Markus Granlund from rival Calgary. Shinkaruk grew up as a Flames fan, so he's excited – but which team won this deal?
In an interview with The Fan 960 in Calgary, Flames GM Brad Treliving revealed that Granlund was expendable for a number of reasons: first and foremost, he was a center for an organization that already boasts Sean Monahan, Sam Bennett, Mikael Backlund, Josh Jooris and veteran Matt Stajan, not to mention young AHLer Drew Shore.
Scoring on the wing was an organizational need for the future however, and Shinkaruk is now an option, though it is universally accepted that he will need more time. The offensively-gifted left winger has scored in bunches at both the junior and AHL level, but he still needs to adjust to the physicality of the pro game and become more involved when he doesn't have the puck.
Another concern for Treliving was Granlund's contract status, in that next year the Finnish pivot would be waiver-eligible. Since Granlund has not yet established himself as an everyday NHLer yet, the possibility of losing him for nothing next season (barring a jump in play) was real.
Unlike Shinkaruk, Granlund does have a nice defensive component to his game. The 22-year-old center is a smart player, though offense has been harder to come by. Vancouver GM Jim Benning told reporters that Shinkaruk had been improving his overall game, but it obviously wasn't enough in the end for the kid.
So where does Granlund fit in with the Canucks? With Henrik Sedin and Bo Horvat as the top two centers right now, he's obviously sliding into the bottom six at best, which is fine given Vancouver's depth, or lack thereof. It should also be noted that rookie center Jared McCann has one point and four healthy scratches to his name in Vancouver's past 10 outings. McCann could not be sent to the AHL this season (too young; would have had to go back to junior), but he would be eligible next year, so something to keep an eye on.
In the end, Calgary gets the player with more upside and risk, but does so at very little cost to their own organization.