When the Vancouver Canucks traded 2013 first round draft pick Hunter Shinkaruk to the Calgary Flames for Markus Granlund in February of 2016, reactions were mixed.
At the time, Shinkaruk had played well in the American Hockey League, scoring 39 points in 45 games with the Utica Comets, and was looking like a potential top-six forward for Vancouver. Granlund was scoring at a similar rate, with nine points in 12 AHL games that year, but the Flames prospect was (and still is) a year-and-a-half older, and had a second-round draft pedigree, as opposed to Shinkaruk's status as a late first rounder.
The trade really became lopsided last year, when Granlund played the entire year with the Canucks and turned into a responsible forward who can play both centre or wing anywhere in the lineup. The Finn even spent time with the Sedins last year, putting up 32 points in 69 games and coming one goal away from hitting 20 on the year. Meanwhile, Shinkaruk spent most of the year with the AHL's Stockton Heat and didn't replicate his previous scoring exploits in the league, posting 35 points in 52 games, along with one assist in seven games with the Flames.
Shinkaruk was outperformed and subsequently passed on the depth chart by other Flames prospects like Mark Jankowski and Morgan Klimchuk. That's the nice way of saying it. The not nice way is mentioning that he was outscored by former Canuck Linden Vey, who never felt like an NHLer. Vey spent last season with the Heat but will be playing in the KHL this year (maybe we'll see him representing Canada in the Olympics).
So, the Flames were set on dropping Shinkaruk to their AHL roster once again this season. Only one problem: Shinkaruk is now at the age where he requires to be put on waivers (where any team can claim him) to play in the AHL. Putting a player on waivers is a big sign that a team is ready to move on from said player.
Right now, as it stands, the Shinkaruk-Granlund deal is the best trade Benning has made for the Canucks. However, somewhat surprisingly, it might be dethroned soon enough. Two deals Benning made at the trade deadline — Alex Burrows to the Ottawa Senators for prospect Jonathan Dahlen and Jannik Hansen to the San Jose Sharks for forward Nikolay Goldobin. Those deals will depend on how the young players acquired in them perform, but both are already wins for the Canucks.
Another deal with the Flames, Sven Baertschi for a second rounder, is also in contention, but it'll depend on how Rasmus Andersson, who Calgary selected with the pick, performs.More