4. Markus Granlund vs. Hunter Shinkaruk
Like Jared McCann, Hunter Shinkaruk was one of the Vancouver Canucks’ blue-chip forward prospects. Selected in the first round of the 2013 NHL draft, Shinkaruk is a highly skilled winger who used to be one of the most dangerous scorers in the Canucks organization. But as he was leading the AHL Utica Comets in scoring, the Canucks decided he probably wasn’t going to make the NHL.
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So, Vancouver dealt Shinkaruk to the Calgary Flames in late February, 2016. Instead of Shinkaruk, the Canucks wanted someone who was already in the NHL and was definitely going to stay there long-term. In other words, they traded a prospect winger with 30-goal potential for a bottom-line NHL center. Great.
In 17 games with Calgary’s AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat, Shinkaruk had six goals and six assists for 12 points. That was enough to earn himself some NHL time late in the season, and Shinkaruk appeared in seven games with the Flames. In those seven games, he scored twice and added an assist in some very promising showings.
Meanwhile, Granlund recorded the same amount of goals and assists in 16 games. He certainly looks like someone who will stick around in the NHL, but he doesn’t look like a better player than Shinkaruk. Don’t be surprised to see Shinkaruk in the NHL full-time this season.
Therefore, this is definitely a battle to watch. The Canucks sent one of their most promising scorers to a division rival — which is probably never a good idea.
Next: Juolevi vs. Tkachuk