Canucks trade Shinkaruk to Flames for 'good skill' in Granlund

 

 
 
 
 
Calgary Flames forward Markus Granlund during a team practice at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary in December. Granlund has been obtained in a trade by the Vancouver Canucks.
 

Calgary Flames forward Markus Granlund during a team practice at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary in December. Granlund has been obtained in a trade by the Vancouver Canucks.

Photograph by: Leah Hennel, Calgary Herald

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VANCOUVER — Hunter Shinkaruk wasn't ready for the NHL and Markus Granlund is.

That was the explanation Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning offered Monday after shipping Shinkaruk to the Calgary Flames for Granlund, a Finnish centre with 86 games of NHL experience.

"He is a two-way player that can play in any situation and up and down in our lineup," Benning said of the 22-year-old Granlund. "He can play left wing, he can play centre, he's a good penalty-killer. He has got good skill. For his time in the American league, if you look at his stats, he's almost a goal every two games player. He has got good skill. We like his competitiveness, he is not afraid to compete hard in battles. Those are some of the things and characteristics we like about the player."

Apparently, there were some things the Canucks didn't like about the 21-year-old Shinkaruk, who was leading the AHL's Utica Comets with 21 goals this season.

Benning, who said he didn't view the trade as the team giving up on Shinkaruk, later in his conference call with reporters seemed to acknowledge the organization had concerns about whether Shinkaruk's offensive abilities would translate to the NHL.

The fact that Shinkaruk only got one brief call-up this season — he played 9:35 in a Nov. 16 game versus the Montreal Canadiens — when he was piling up points in Utica, has been the subject of considerable discussion among Canucks fans.

"I think at the end of the day we didn't feel he was ready to be a full-time NHL player yet and we thought it was important for him to stay down in Utica and keep developing the parts of his game that he needed to work on," Benning said. "Our goal, if we would have kept him, was for him to be ready to play in the NHL next season."

Shinkaruk was selected 24th overall in 2013 by former GM Mike Gillis. A Calgary native, Shinkaruk was passed over by the Flames in that year's draft.

"What we looked at, too, was the way he (Shinkaruk) was scoring his goals," Benning said. "To be a goal-scorer at the NHL level, where the players are bigger and stronger and faster, you need the strength to get to the net and the good goal-scorers in the NHL have a good release on their shot.

"We took all those things into consideration and we just felt we are getting a player who has proven now he can play in the NHL and is a little bit further ahead in his development than Hunter is and is a guy that has the skill set that maybe is not as flashy as Hunter's, but he is a skill player."

This is the second deal Benning has made with the Flames near the trade deadline in the past year. About this time last season, the Canucks traded away a second-round pick to the Flames to get a former first-rounder in Sven Baertschi. This time, they are sending a former first-rounder to Calgary get a player in Granlund, who was selected in the second round (45th overall) of the 2011 draft.

Granlund, whose older brother Mikael plays for the Minnesota Wild, has split his time this season with the Flames and their AHL team in Stockton, Calif. He has four goals and seven points in 31 games with the Flames this season. In 2013-14 with the Abbotsford Heat, he had 25 goals and 46 points in 52 games.

This deal and the one that brought Baertschi to Vancouver last season, have the fingerprints of assistant GM John Weisbrod all over them. Before joining the Canucks, Weisbrod spent three years with the Flames as assistant general manager of player development.

"I relied on John as we were going through this process on Markus to give us the intangibles on the player and he speaks very highly of him and really likes him as a kid and a person," Benning said. "We liked the way he plays on the ice. He (Weisbrod) was a big reason why we went through and made this deal."

Benning said before striking the deal with the Flames, he attempted to deal Shinkaruk for a young defenceman but could not find a partner.

INJURY REPORT — Linden Vey, who missed the last two games with an undisclosed injury, skated before the Canucks’ practice Monday at UBC and coach Willie Desjardins said the centre should rejoin the team Tuesday … Winger Radim Vrbata, who left Sunday's 5-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche after falling awkwardly in the third period, did not appear to be limping after undergoing treatment at UBC. Desjardins described Vrbata's 'lower-body' injury as day-to-day … Winger Derek Dorsett missed practice and also was called day-to-day by Desjardins. Dorsett sat out a game two weeks ago with an undisclosed injury.

bziemer@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/bradziemer

 
 
 
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Calgary Flames forward Markus Granlund during a team practice at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary in December. Granlund has been obtained in a trade by the Vancouver Canucks.
 

Calgary Flames forward Markus Granlund during a team practice at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary in December. Granlund has been obtained in a trade by the Vancouver Canucks.

Photograph by: Leah Hennel, Calgary Herald

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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