Canucks send Hunter Shinkaruk to Flames for Markus Granlund

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Canucks send Hunter Shinkaruk to Flames for Markus Granlund
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A year ago, the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames made a deal together sending a second-round pick to Cowtown for Sven Baertschi. A year later, the two sides have hooked up for another trade.

Late Monday afternoon the Canucks sent 21-year-old forward Hunter Shinkaruk to the Flames for 22-year-old center Markus Granlund, as first reported by TSN 1200’s A.J. Jakubec.

Here comes the part where Canucks fans look at GM Jim Benning and ask, “Huh?” 

Shinkaruk, a Calgary native and currently signed through 2018, is seventh in the AHL in goals with 21 and led the Utica Comets with 39 points in 45 games. That’s a big improvement from last season’s solid campaign that saw him net 16 goals and 31 points in 74 games.

Granlund, meanwhile, put up 25 goals two seasons ago in Abbotsford, but hasn’t been able to stick with the Flames and has split time between the NHL and AHL since coming over from Finland in 2013. He’s set to become a restricted free agent this summer.

“I can honestly say I really tried to never think about [Vancouver’s future plans],” Shinkaruk, who was one of Vancouver’s two first-round picks in 2014, told TSN 1040 shortly after the trade was announced. “My goal everyday is to become a better hockey player.”

On a conference call, Benning said his staff liked Granlund’s versatiity on the wing or down the middle as well as his two-way ability. As for Shinkaruk, the Canucks were looking for someone to contribute now.

"At the end of the day, we didn't feel he was ready to be a full-time NHL player yet,” Benning said.

"The one thing about Hunter is he likes to score. We don't know if that's going to translate to the NHL or not." 

With the Canucks falling quickly out of the Western Conference playoff picture, the need to turn things over and get younger is the current plan for the franchise. Benning has already waived Chris Higgins and Brandon Prust down to the AHL and more than likely will find new homes for 33-year-old Dan Hamhuis and 34-year-old Radim Vrbata before next Monday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.

This was just the start of a busy seven days for the Canucks and Benning as they look to shape their future.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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