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Samwell9 - B
Thanks to another one of those famous brain cramps by Jim Benning, on February 22nd the Flames were able to acquire Hunter Shinkaruk, 24th overall pick of the 2013 draft at the ultra low cost price of Markus Granlund. Shinkaruk was in the midst of his second AHL season, the first year of his entry-level contract. In 45 games with the Utica Comets of the AHL, Shinkaruk had posted 39 points in 45 games, very respectable numbers for a 21-year-old. It was a pretty surprising acquisition to say the least, as the Flames added a high profile prospect for a forward that was not fitting in at the NHL level.
Shinkaruk was immediately assigned to the Stockton Heat, where he posted 12 points in 17 games. He also got to have his childhood dream come true, with a call up to his hometown team, playing his second NHL game and first as a Flame against the Arizona Coyotes. He got his first NHL point in that game with an assist and the following game he scored his first NHL goal against the Anaheim Ducks. Shinkaruk ended up with 2 goals, 1 assist in 7 games, not a bad first tour of duty. He also saw time on the top line with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau. While that probably is not the solution for the first line long-term, it is not far out of the realm of possibility to see Hunter push for a full time roster spot next season, possibly alongside Sam Bennett or Mikael Backlund. He is an exciting prospect, fits in nicely with the young core of the Flames and hopefully he makes the Canucks seriously regret trading him. A solid first tour of duty in the NHL gets Shinkaruk a B from me.
BizzleJ - B
Acquiring Hunter Shinkaruk from the Vancouver Canucks this past season was almost like getting that last sticker you need to fill your NHL Sticker book. Shinkaruk had an awesome stint with the Medicine Hat Tigers before being drafted by the Vancouver Canucks. Shinkaruk played in 1 game for the Canucks which apparently was enough for Jim Benning to make the decision to trade him to the Flames in exchange for Markus Granlund. In his 7 games with the Flames, Shinkaruk scored 2 goals and added an assist for just 3 points. Not bad for practically his first stint in the NHL near the end of a roller-coaster season for the club. He played great for the Stockton Heat while down there before being called up. Given the opportunity to fill a roster spot, I think Shinkaruk will turn out to be a very good investment in a year or two. My grade for him is a B.
Shinkaruk has showed strong progression this season in the AHL. During his brief stint in the NHL with the Flames he also looked pretty good. Shinkaruk should have a good opportunity to make the Flames roster full time next season, and if not, could be one of the very first callups the Flames chose when injuries and other situations arise. Shinkaruk showed some flashes of brilliance last season and has the potential to fit right into the strong young group of forwards that the Flames already possess. This next season will be big to see how his future may proceed with the Flames. However his last one was solid. B+
HockeyGoalieEh - C
Way too small of a sample size to judge. Not great at even strength, great on special teams. TBD really.