Flames return Hunter Shinkaruk to Stockton Heat

Oh, Hunter, we hardly knew ye.

At least to start this season, that was especially true. When injuries hit the Flames, they recalled Hunter Shinkaruk. He played seven of a possible 16 games, averaging just 10:35 in ice time over their course. He scored one assist while he was up, and that was about it.

In short, he wasn’t doing much in the NHL during this recall, not that he was given much of a chance to. That’s probably why the Flames have returned Shinkaruk to the AHL’s Stockton Heat.

This was a move that’s been a long time coming, particularly as the Flames have started to get healthier and Shinkaruk was continuing to sit and not play. 

Projected to be more of a skilled forward than a grinder or mucker, Shinkaruk was rarely given the opportunity – and, now that Johnny Gaudreau is back, there’s officially no real room for him on this roster.

Shinkaruk started off by playing three games in a row on his recall, receiving fourth line minutes and generating a total of two shots. He was then scratched for the next three games, going a week without playing before he got back in the lineup – and, again, played fourth line minutes.

He was in and out of the lineup over the course of the road trip, and his most common linemates were Matt Stajan, Freddie Hamilton, and Alex Chiasson, to give you an idea of how he was used.

In short: he wasn’t really at all. Considering how Shinkaruk is probably one of the Flames’ better offensive prospects – he had seven points in seven games for the Heat before being recalled, and 89 points in 143 AHL games (a .62 point per game player) – this recall maybe didn’t make the best possible use of Shinkaruk. Contrast it to the seven games he played for the Flames in 2015-16, in which he averaged 15:44 a game and mostly played with Sean Monahan and Gaudreau and, well.

So it’s a good thing the Flames have returned him to the AHL, where he should receive top six minutes and be put in a position to succeed once again. The next time he gets an opportunity, hopefully the Flames will be willing to trust him more – and hopefully he’ll force their hands to make them, too.

The Flames now have 14 forwards up with the big club. This includes Garnet Hathaway, the lone remaining recall, and Lance Bouma, who, like Gaudreau, recently returned to practice wearing a regular jersey (that is to say, not non-contact). By demoting Shinkaruk, Bouma can now officially be activated off of the injured reserve.

  • everton fc

    Inevitable.

    Next question; what happens when Bouma returns? Who sits?? Who heads back to Stockton??? Or is someone put on waivers????

    We’re doing just fine w/o Bouma. Only way he slots in is if Ferland’s hand is more serious than thought.

    Otherwise….

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Shinkaruk wasn’t good enough for the lowly Canucks to keep him, and he hasn’t been able to find steady work on the Flames’ roster. How much longer before he goes from NHL prospect to career minor leaguer? Ditto for Porier and Klimchuk.

    • KiLLKiND

      Why do you even bother commenting? You clearly know nothing about hockey. Shinkaruk was drafted only 3 years ago and has already played more NHL games than Jankowski who was drafted a full year earlier. He isn’t dead as a prospect and you need to give your head a shake.

  • Ole YELLEr

    I know I’m in the minority but I like Buoma and am glad he’s coming back soon. I’ve also always liked Poirier and feel the need to point out he has 87 points in 135 ahl games for a .64 ppg I’m hoping he gets a shot in the NHL this year. As for Shinkaruk being sent down I think it’s the best thing for him right now, hopefully he can keep on playing as well in the AHL as he was before his recall.

    • Baalzamon

      Poirier has quietly salvaged his season. He’s actually out-scoring Pribyl right now.

      Anyone else notice that Rittich is currently the top goalie in the AHL? The Chronicles of Rittich are getting interesting.

        • Torchy

          Not without at least 8-10 NHL starts under his belt. Elliott hasn’t met expectations but despite this, I’d be far more comfortable going into the playoffs with a pissed off Elliott itching to prove something vs a relatively unproven player.