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A known known

by Dave Tomlinson / Vancouver Canucks
If you look up the start of the sentence, “There are known knowns” on the Internet, you will undoubtedly be lead to Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and an intricate answer he gave to a question he handled during a Department of Defense news briefing back in 2012.

The first part of the quote, if you’re ready for it, goes like this, “Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.”

Take a moment to let that sink in.

Now, the reason I bring this phrase to light is because it helps, for me at least, to explain the underpinnings of the Canucks recent trade of Hunter Shinkaruk for Markus Granlund.


Dave Tomlinson, radio Colour Commentator for the Vancouver Canucks, and analyst of all things hockey.

Follow Tomlinson on Twitter at @DTSN1040

In Granlund, the Vancouver Canucks have acquired a known known, a player that Canucks assistant general manager John Weisbrod saw from his very first days as the assistant general manager of Player Personnel during his time with the Calgary Flames back in 2011 when they took him with their second pick of the 2011 Draft. That draft was incidentally the same one in which Calgary took Sven Baertschi 13th overall. Granlund has since played 86 games for his now former Alberta team before yesterday’s news that he joined the Canucks.

For the Canucks, the move is one where they feel they’ve acquired a player who has shown so far he can compete at the NHL level in a two-way role, after developing his game as a teenager playing against men in the Finnish Elite League before transitioning to North America.

Also worth noting is that he comes from a hockey family, as his older brother Mikael, currently with the Minnesota Wild, was often his teammate along the way from minor hockey through to representing Finland together on the International stage.

The player he was traded for, Hunter Shinkaruk, would be considered a known unknown. People who follow pro hockey closely will say that he has certainly shown his ability to score goals in the AHL, that is the known part, but without the chance to put that on display with the Canucks full-time, the question as to whether he can continue his style of play from his time in the minors and translate that into goals in the National Hockey League is still unanswered, the unknown.

So the Canucks have added a piece that they feel will be able to play immediately throughout the bottom part of their line-up, either at centre or on the wing, and be a reliable and strong option with his smart and detailed approach to the game.

Debating whether the Canucks “won” or “lost” the trade will certainly be a topic of discussion amongst Canucks faithful, but in the short term the team has a useful player they will put in the line-up right away, which shows that management is clearly more comfortable at this time in going with what they know.

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