Flames trade Markus Granlund to Canucks for Hunter Shinkaruk

It’s the trade deadline, everybody! We are officially underway!

The Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks: trade partners, two trade deadlines in a row. Who saw that coming?

It was only just a bit under a year ago when the Flames traded Sven Baertschi for a 2015 second round pick, which they used to select Rasmus Andersson. Pretty good deal, right? A prospect with potential who wasn’t going to stay in town, and they got another prospect with pretty good potential out of it.

This one might be even better, though.

The Flames have traded another 2011 pick, Markus Granlund, to the Vancouver Canucks for the 24th overall pick of the 2013 NHL draft: Hunter Shinkaruk.

The Flames just traded an older prospect whose upside was appearing to be increasingly limited for a younger prospect who really, really looks to be coming into his own. And while Granlund’s waiver eligibility is set to expire after this season, Shinkaruk’s won’t until after the 2017-18 season, when his entry level contract runs out.

I don’t know why the Vancouver Canucks did this. I can’t fathom what they get out of this. Unless there’s something else going on we don’t know, this is a solid win for Calgary, and really helps further along the rebuild.

Farewell, Markus

Granlund, little brother to Mikael, was selected 45th overall in 2011: the Flames’ first pick since Baertschi that year. He’s had a modest career to date, apparently too good for the AHL – he’s been one of the Flames’ top farm team players, and hovering around a point per game the past few seasons – but unable to find his place in the NHL.

The scoring touch Granlund has found in the minors hasn’t yet consistently presented itself at the highest level. Every time he’s been recalled, he’s gotten off to a good start, chipping in with a couple of points and generally faring rather well, only to completely fall off a cliff and look unsuited for NHL duty. 

Here’s the Flames’ usage and performance chart, via War on Ice:

markus granlund woi

Circled is Granlund, which – yikes. He’s getting preferential treatment, heavily sheltered in the offensive zone and playing low quality competition. And he’s a negative corsi player relative to the rest of this team, despite those advantages. His raw corsi is 44.46%; he’s only putting up better numbers than David Jones, Lance Bouma, Kris Russell, Matt Stajan, and Deryk Engelland, all of whom play in tougher circumstances than him.

Granlund has been scratched for six of the Flames’ past 10 games. While he had the third line centre role locked down for some time this season – and was a key part in Sam Bennett playing on the left wing most of the year – he wasn’t faring well, and it’s debatable if he should even be in the NHL at all.

If he was going to take the next step, though, it probably wasn’t going to be with the Flames.

Hello, Hunter

Shinkaruk or Poirier? How about Shinkaruk and Poirier?

There’s been a debate raging along ever since the late first round of the 2013 NHL draft. I was there; I remember sitting in the stands, watching Shinkaruk fall until it was time for the Flames’ second pick of the first round, their first having been spent on Sean Monahan. I remember chanting Shinkaruk’s name to myself–

And then, a kid from the QMJHL instead.

At first, it looked to be in the Flames’ favour. When both players turned pro in the 2014-15 season, Poirier posted 42 points in 55 games, while Shinkaruk clocked in at 31 in 74. Clearly, the Flames were right to pick the Quebecois kid – he even made his NHL debut that same season.

It’s been different this year, though. Poirier now sits at 20 points through 42 games for the Stockton Heat this season, while Shinkaruk has bee the Uitca Comets’ leading scorer with 39 points through 45. That’s more points than Derek Grant! The Derek Grant! That includes 21 goals, which isn’t more than Grant, but puts him just two behind for Stockton’s goal scoring lead.

Brad Treliving has emphatically put the debate that could have dragged out for years to rest, though, by ensuring his team has not just one, but both players.

Shinkaruk has been assigned to the Heat, so he and Poirier are now teammates – and maybe even future linemates. As mentioned above, Shinkaruk immediately becomes the Heat’s leading scorer, and probably one of the Flames’ top offensive prospects, too. Just like that.

Shinkaruk, 21, hails from Calgary. He’s played one NHL game thus far, making his debut with the Vancouver Canucks on Nov. 16, where he played 9:35 in an overtime loss to Montreal, and was held off the scoreboard. He’s still growing and developing, but he’s trending well – and now, he’ll be doing so for Calgary.

Hope you enjoy California, Hunter – maybe we’ll see you come back home before the year is out. (There’s a roster spot open on the Flames now, too.)

  • freethe flames

    I just hope this is the beginning of the trade movement and not the hi-light. Next moves better include moving the UFA’s for either draft picks or help on the RW. Sorry if I sound negative but I recall on draft that a number of people suggested that HUnter was quite skilled but a bit of a coaches nightmare. I hope I’m wrong but that’s what I recall.

  • freethe flames

    I just hope this is the beginning of the trade movement and not the hi-light. Next moves better include moving the UFA’s for either draft picks or help on the RW. Sorry if I sound negative but I recall on draft that a number of people suggested that HUnter was quite skilled but a bit of a coaches nightmare. I hope I’m wrong but that’s what I recall.

    • everton fc

      Benning mentioned Granlund’s bringing “flexibility”, playing wing, centre…


      Good luck to Granlund. He’ll get a lot of minutes in Vancouver. Or, he’ll be in Minny before the weekend!

  • Christian Roatis

    You know the community is stoked when we’re at 70+ comments a few hours removed from the deal with anonymous comments turned off.

    Love the deal.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Might be more a sign of a forlorn fan base desperate for even the thinnest piece of news to chew on. Let’s face it, no Flames fan is talking about potential postseason dance partners. This final week of February is going to be the Stanley Cup for the Flames fans as they see what their esteemed GM does or doesn’t do to propel the team forward. After 29 February, all they have is the draft lottery until the lead up to the entry draft. Mighty slim pickings, so gnaw on your bones, kids, because that is all there is for a long while.

  • everton fc

    Dated, but pretty good look at Shinkaruk



    Seems the big dig on this kid is his size. So maybe it’s a good deal for both teams. These interviews, his family – I can’t see any evidence this kids got “attitude”. To me, he’s busted his hump getting to where he’s at, with a lot against him, mainly size.

    I hope he plays here pretty quick. Will be exciting for the fan base.

  • The GREAT Walter White

    So John Weisbrod is AGM for the Canucks now???

    Explains his love for Granlund I guess….

    Didn’t he drive through a snow storm for Jankowski as well?

    I feel a Jankowski trade for Vancouvers first (protected) coming on….!!!!!


  • beloch

    In terms of absolute value, this trade definitely favors the Flames. It would have to, when they’re giving up a center (always worth a premium) for yet another LW that they’ll struggle to find ice-time for, unless he rocks, which he might.

    However, Granlund was clearly not getting the linemates he needs to score at the NHL level. Such is the life of a guy behind Bennett, Monahan, Backlund, and Stajan in the depth chart. Vancouver lacks depth at center and Granlund will likely go straight to the second or third line, where he might finally find his scoring touch. This could be a decent trade for the Canucks too, even if their fans are unhappy. Quite frankly, I think they overhyped Shinkaruk to a high degree. He’s good, but this trade is more fair than they seem to think.

  • Miki

    Just for a fun, in near future this line will be intresting:
    On left Shinkaruk center Colborne and on the right Klimchuk. What do you think guys, lets have fun.

  • KiLLKiND

    Is nobody else thinking we lost this deal? I don’t know why everyone is so pumped other than he was born in Calgary. Granlund has posted better numbers and has proved that he can be a viable 3rd line option. Yes he hasn’t been amazing, but he is still young and was clearly too good for the AHL. I personally don’t like the trade, but hopefully I’m wrong.Maybe Hunter can become our 3rd line LW I thought Ganlund should be. The best thing about this trade for me is hopefully Grant comes up and we can see what we have in him. Which would turn out to be excellent asset management.

    If Treliving’s plan didn’t include Granlund then, acquiring another asset that some believe to be of more value is great. Especially when it allows you to better assess what we currently have in Grant which may be an immediate improvement on Granlund.

    You can downvote and point out all of Granlund’s flaws I know what they are but I thought he had such high potential that getting a player that is getting about the same AHL numbers is disspointing for me. In the same sense please point out anything you believe Hunter is better at than Granlund. I would also like to point out Hunter’s shooting at 19.6% this year and only has 53% of his points at even strength and roughly half his assists are secondary ones.

    To me this season for Hunter is the outlier and we can expect what we saw last year. That is thinking it’s a good thing we didn’t take Hunter with our 1st. while Granlund was consistently great in the AHL. Who knows it’ll be a while until we know who really won or lost this deal.

    • ApolloRising

      With Bennett moving to center that pushes Backlund to 3rd line and Granlund out. Treliving said he wanted Granlund to play wing, but didn’t think that would be right solution for the long term. So he traded for a natural winger.

    • piscera.infada

      I don’t necessarily disagree with anything you laid out here, except for the fact that Granlund has proven to be a viable third line option. He’s proven he can play there, but in aggregate, he’s never actually performed well by any measure in the NHL. I digress though, I did like Granlund as a prospect, and I do think he has what it takes.

      But from a purely contractual standpoint, as I wrote in an earlier post, this deal starts to make a ton more sense. Granlund is slated to be waiver eligible next season, which Shinkaruk is not. That means, like Shore this year, if Granlund didn’t take a centre roster spot from one of Monahan, Bennett, Backlund, or Stajan, he would have been doomed to toil in the AHL all season–not even a call-up would have saved him, because “oops, waivers”. I do firmly believe this made Granlund almost a necessity to be moved.

      It also helps to open up a centre development spot for Shore, Grant, Arnold, and in all likelihood soon to be Jankowski (fingers crossed).

      Look, I’m not entirely enamoured with Shinkaruk’s skillset, but I do think the Flames did pretty well in a acquiring a player with some upside here. It’s not as clear a win as many people are proclaiming it to be, but honestly the writing was on the wall for Granlund. He’s played 86 NHL games, he’s been given a pretty good shot this season to show he’s improved, and he simply hasn’t really. Best of luck to him on the left coast.

    • Jake the Snail

      Thing is, Granlund is waiver eligible next year and I think that Flames managemnt felt that he needed more seasoning in the AHL, and with Bennett being employed at Centre he may have been the odd man out in many games next year – not good for his development. Of course Shinkaruk not at that play or waive him stage yet.

      • KiLLKiND

        You and Piscera.Inferna pointed out roughly the same thing to me and it makes sense. Having one less waiver required player i always nice. Especially in Granlund’s case as he hasn’t excelled or produced at the NHL. As Piscera pointed he hasn’t been the greatest 3rd liner and isn’t quite there yet.

        Another pro to Hunter is he is a natural LW which outside of our NHL roster we don’t currently have the greatest LW prospect pool. He is now near the top with Agastino, Klimchuk, and Mangiapane.

        Well there are are pros and cons to every trade, hopefully the pros out-way the cons. One tough thing in which we will likely forget as this trade progresses. Outside of it being a one for one swap as we gain a year of waivers and the chance to audition Agastino or Grant. These two bonuses are very nice and will likely be forgotten in 5 years when we can have a better look at who won the trade.

    • piscera.infada

      I don’t know why you’d give up assets for a goalie this close to free agency. I mean, he’s made it this far, he’s likely to test the waters.

      Make a play for him in FA if you really want him.

      • Greg

        Agreed. Unless you’ve pre negotiated a contract and it’s less then what you think he’d get if you wait till July. And it’s for a trivial asset. And you’ve already talked to TB and Ana and confirmed that neither Bishop or Andersen will be available for a price you can afford.

        • everton fc

          I agree, as well. Throwing it out there, though. Here’s why:

          IF you can get him sort of guaranteed to sign, this is a guy whose played in a circus for years. Has handled the pressure in a big market like a pro. Always above 90% save percentage, though goals against have been high. Then again, look at the defence in front of him. At 27-28, Reimer is a seasoned pro who can handle the pressure of a big market Canadian city. Some things to consider.

          Bishop’s a smudge older, but one of the best in the league. Anderson might be the ideal, but at what cost? These three, in no particular order, are who we need to pursue.

          • wot96

            No. None of those goalies unless they come in at less than $4m will fit under the cap structure Calgary is currently working with.

            Stellar goaltending makes up for a lot of deficiencies in the team – see Kiprosoff, Mikka (just about most years he played for the Flames). But a reasonably good team cannot make up for deficient goaltending – see 2015/2016 Flames (and there are other less tongue in cheek examples).

            The Detroit model was to build the team in front of the goalie, and they got a cup out of it, albeit most recently with at least three all world players in front of the goalie (Lidstrom, Datsyuk and Zetterberg). Calgary is obviously not there yet but the point is that it would be better, IMO to build the team in front of the goalie so the goalie doesn’t need to be stellar.

            The moral of the story is that you shouldn’t spend your Free Agency Frenzy budget on a goalie unless you have everything else that you need.

          • piscera.infada

            I completely agree. The “build from the net out” mantra works in theory, but as we’ve seen countless times a goalie can really and truly mask a lot of weaknesses on your roster (see: Montreal, Kipper-era Flames, etc.).

            That’s not to say goaltending isn’t important. It is, it’s often the most important, but tying up premium assets, premium cap-space, and premium term in a goalie like Bishop or Andersen is the last thing this organization should be doing when it’s clear they aren’t a Bishop or Andersen away from being a contender.

            That’s a great deal easier to say than to do, I understand that. However, you need to incrementally upgrade the position without selling the farm, or further hamstringing yourself if you’re Brad Treliving. This organization has some glaring holes and weaknesses that need to be addressed before goaltending can take it to the next level.

    • Avalain

      I’m not entirely sure about that. I’m seeing comments like “Oh great, now I get to cheer for the kid who used to bully me back in school.”.

      Of course, kids do grow up and being a bully in school shouldn’t hinder his ability to fit in the locker room or to take direction from the coach. He’ll be fine.

  • MarbledBlueCheese

    In order to improve my mood I scrolled through comments at CanucksArmchair or Army or whatever they call themselves.

    There is certainly ennui and despair about this trade which is great. However, I was surprised to see the general notion that Benning ripped off Treliving for Baertschi. This was referred to as one of the only reasonable trades he’s done.

    Personally I like what the Flames got out of it in Andersson but Baertschi must be doing something right over there. I hope he scores 20 more goals to end the year and propels the Canucks into 9th spot in the West, just out of the playoffs.

  • beloch

    Some sober second thought:

    Granlund was one of the Flames worst possession players this season despite being fairly sheltered. His WOWY is pretty damning too. He made pretty much everyone worse. Add that to his total lack of finish at the NHL level and you have a pretty marginal NHL’er. I’m not sure why people are saying he’s a good two-way player, because he simply isn’t… yet. He works hard and I think he has upside, but he just isn’t very good yet. Still, a marginal NHL’er is a NHL’er.

    My biggest concern with Shinkaruk was that he had just one junior season with a NHLE North of 30 and then two disappointing junior seasons, followed by a disappointing first season in the AHL. Granlund’s first AHL season was far better. As it turns out, Shinkaruk played his last two seasons of junior with a hip injury, which he had surgery to correct in January of 2014, before his first AHL season. He probably wasn’t at 100% when he first went to Utica. Basically, the Canucks medical staff cocked up and did an Oiljob on this kid. Brutal.

    So, the Flames traded a proven NHL’er, albeit a fairly marginal one, for a kid who was badly mishandled and hasn’t been living up to his pedigree. Shinkaruk is a reclamation project. I’m not convinced he’s going to be a NHL’er, but it does appear he might have upside that has been hidden by that injury.

    Given the stage that the Flames are at in their rebuild, trading a near-certain mediocrity for a higher-risk, higher-reward prospect is a smart move.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Only thing sober about this post is the title.

      You got access to the Canucks’ med records on him how and when? Your credentials to actually understand these records comes from where?

      Judge Moon finds you guilty of peddling so much speculative claptrap. Your sentence is not being allowed to share with us your views on a certain grassy knoll in Dallas.

  • CutterMcAwesome

    Didn’t this kid end up having hip surgery in his draft +1 year? Then came back and put on 15lbs of muscle?

    It takes quite the will to come back from a hip injury, let alone come back stronger.

    This is a win for the flames without a doubt in my mind.

  • Hockeyfan

    Glad to see grans go. Would like o see hunter step in right away along with Poirier for ret of season. We need to ge rid of Engeland & Bollig, Russel & Hudler . Tme for a full youth movement. Goaltending upgrade needed. Ramo straight up for Reimer.