There has been lots of opinions surrounding the Vancouver Canucks’ trade that sent AHL All-Star winger Hunter Shinkaruk to arch rival Calgary, in exchange for gritty Flames’ forward Markus Granlund.
Initially, a handful of Canucks’ fans detested the trade, viewing Shinkaruk as a late bloomer who has the potential to evolve into a top six forward in the NHL. From the minds of the glass-half empty fans, they’re getting a border-line player that might help within Vancouver’s third line, especially if it fails to propel Vancouver into the playoffs by the near future.
Essentially, the departure of Vancouver’s young prospects is a double-edge sword. The Canucks’ fans that are favoring the move believes that Hunter Shinkaruk is a bust waiting to happen, and it’s satisfying that Vancouver will get something in return for him. Despite having a good year with the AHL’s Utica Comets, Shinkaruk has under achieved for the most part throughout his early career. Last season with the Medicine Hat Tigers, he battled a hip injury that put him out for all but 18 games. Shinkaruk was projected to come out as a lottery pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, but evidently slipped to 24th to the Canucks.
Anyhow, the Canucks are getting a player in Markus Granlund who can come into the lineup right away. He may be a year older than Shinkaruk, but has already produced at a high level, scoring 14 goals and dishing out another 14 assists over an 86 game span. It’s easy to like the trade because it sticks with the theme that GM Jim Benning has been trying to implement since his inception as GM in 2014. Fast, big forwards between the ages of 21-27 who are already NHL ready once they arrive. A case for this is the past two years, when the Canucks added Sven Bärtschi and Emerson Etem.
If the core that Vancouver has groomed stays intact, then this sets up well as far as depth is concerned. Not every prospect can be a 80+ point guy in Juniors and expect to land on a well-balanced professional team. But in the future, the Canucks have their sights set on handing Bo Horvat and Jared McCann big contracts as they hopefully bloom into big time scorers.
With the trade deadline fast approaching, Benning is expected to make a couple more moves before the February 29th deadline. Right Winger Radim Vrbata and defenseman Dan Hamhuis are the most notable Canucks that could be dealt with before the deadline, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Benning make a splash somewhere else before it’s all said and done.
In summary, it’s apparent why a minority of Canucks’ fans don’t like the trade, as Shinkaruk possesses a higher ceiling. However, because Shinkaruk is injury prone and has under achieved so far. It makes sense for Vancouver to go with a more polished product in Granlund.