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.
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:
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.
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.)