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An Insight into the Flames Acquiring of Hunter Shinkaruk

The Flames and Canucks made a trade for the second year in a row involving prospects

Shinkaruk's NHL Debut at the Bell Centre
Shinkaruk's NHL Debut at the Bell Centre
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Treliving made his first real trade of this NHL season in acquiring Hunter Shinkaruk from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Markus Granlund.

Shinkaruk, 21, is a native Calgarian and spent his junior career playing down the highway in Medicine Hat for the Tigers. Shinkaruk was drafted by the Canucks 24th overall in the 2013 NHL draft and has spent the majority of this season with the Utica Comets of the AHL. He also made his NHL debut this season against the Montreal Canadiens. Shinkaruk has been assigned to the Stockton Heat but could potentially see some NHL time this season depending on how the next week goes.

While it's still definitely too early to tell, there's a lot of reasons right now that show the Flames might have already won this trade.

1. Shinkaruk is 7th in AHL goal scoring

Shinkaruk had led the Utica Comets in both goals (21) and points (39) through 45 games this season. He's already exceeded his point total from last season when he had 31 points through 74 games. Shinkaruk sits 19th in total scoring in the AHL and here's hoping he brings his offensive touch to the Stockton Heat this season and the Flames in the future.

2. Calgary Boy Comes Home

There was some criticism from Flames fans during the 2013 draft when the Flames chose to pass over Shinkaruk twice with two of their picks (6th and 22nd) before he was drafted by the rival Canucks at 24th. The Flames continue to look for Alberta boys to try and provide an extra push for these players once they hit the ice. However, this strategy hasn't always worked (can somebody say Mason Raymond?).

3. Flames Bolster Wing Prospects and Open Centre Spot

In making this trade the Flames greatly improved their prospect pool at the wing position. Shinkaruk has the potential to become a top six winger which is what the Flames desperately need right now behind Johnny Gaudreau. The trading of Granlund also opens up a centre position on the team for Sam Bennett to develop. The Flames had been overstocked on centres with the likes of Granlund, Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, and Matt Stajan all taking a spot. This frees up a spot for Bennett now to play his regular position again as he had been on the wing most of this season.

4. Flames Save Cap Space

The Flames also saved some headaches this offseason by trading Granlund. He's an upcoming RFA meaning the Flames would've had to resign him for close to $1M. This money saved at the NHL level gives the Flames some more cap space in resigning important assets such as Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. Shinkaruk's contract expires at the end of 2017-18 season which gives the Flames some time to watch him develop.

While it will take awhile to fully understand the ramifications of this trade, right now it seems as though the Flames got the better end of the deal. It's tough to read into a trade that involves a 22 year old being swapped for a 21 year old, because who knows, perhaps Granlund becomes a 50 goal scorer but that isn't likely. I just know that I'm excited about this acquisition, and I know the Flames are too.