CALGARY, AB -- Careful, cautioned Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving.
Bringing in Calgary native Hunter Shinkaruk via trade from the Vancouver Canucks makes for a nice story.
But it’s far from the reason the Flames GM targeted the 21-year-old.
“When he gets the news he was traded…and then when he heard it was Calgary, there’s great excitement,” said Treliving, who swapped centre Markus Granlund for Shinkaruk on Monday. “Any time a young guy is able to go to your hometown team -- you’ve grown up with it, you’ve skated in the Saddledome, you grew up in this area, you came to games -- it’s a great storyline, but it’s not why, from an organizational standpoint, it’s not why you do a deal, for a nice story.
“You do a deal because the player has upside and at some point he can help you.
“Just speaking with him, he’s a real nice young guy. He was excited. He was thrilled. He seemed pretty pumped up.”
Shinkaruk’s homecoming will come.
But for now, it’s on pause.
Shinkaruk was assigned to Stockton of the American Hockey League following the trade.
It’s with good thought.
“He's having an excellent season in the American league,” Treliving said. “He'll go to Stockton, he's get integrated there. Let's go -- that's sort of my message to him. Giddy up here and get there to meet the coaches and the team. Get playing and go from there. We've got a lot of young guys that are shooting for their opportunity and he's another one of those guys.
“It's a matter of getting down there and getting with that group, doing it on the ice and pushing for your opportunity. There's no timelines or anything like that it's a young player going out there showing what he can do and pushing for his opportunity.
“There’s still areas of his game he’s got to continue to grow in and mature, both in his game and physically. But we look at the skill set that he has, and he’s really a need for us when you look at our reserve list and our group outside of the NHL, is adding more skill to the organization.
“He definitely brings that.”
Shinkaruk is fifth in American Hockey League scoring with 21 goals. His 39 points place him 19th amongst AHLers.
The 21-year-old had 105 goals and 235 points in 211 games over parts of four seasons with Medicine Hat of the Western Hockey League from 2010-2014, too.
“We look at it a couple of ways,” Treliving said. “The hardest thing to do in this league is to score goals. We look at Hunter as a player who has done it over the course of his career at the junior level and at the American Hockey League level. Now, he has not done it at the NHL level, but he’s shown an ability to play with speed, high skill level, and a nose for the net and those are important qualities in today’s game.
“We look at the ceiling on this guy, and we think there’s a high ceiling for him in terms of where he can get to.”