With Kris Versteeg currently listed as week-to-week, the Calgary Flames elected to reward one of the Stockton Heat’s top forwards with an opportunity to showcase himself (hopefully) for the foreseeable future.
And honestly, there isn’t anyone more suited for this opportunity than Hunter Shinkaruk, who is back on his way to the NHL.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) November 5, 2016
The loss of Vertseeg – although a depth forward on this team – obviously disrupts a variety of elements that made the initial signing a valuable one. His extremely modest cap hit, versatility in terms of usage, and contributions to driving play are all elements that were appealing from the start of the season.
Shinkaruk, who saw limited usage to close out last season primarily playing with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, worked well in a complimentary role. He finished the 2015-16 season with two goals and an assist in eight games total (seven with the Flames and a single game with the Vancouver Canucks).
The Flames should be excited to capitalize on his success from early on in Stockton’s AHL season. In eight games with the Heat, Shinkaruk is tied for second with Mark Jankowski in point totals with eight (four goals, four assists in seven games). Shinkaruk has been a strong component in the youth movement in the organization, especially in Stockton, who are off to a fantastic start of 4-2-1.
Beyond the recall itself there is an underlying theme of the Flames finally needing to utilize the long-term injured reserve with Ladislav Smid’s contract. This team has virtually little money to play with – even less when it comes to situations like these – and yet no decision has been made about Smid beyond the news prior to the season.