After a huge win powered by the return of Johnny Gaudreau last night, the Calgary Flames have trimmed their roster by one. Hunter Shinkaruk, the former first-round pick of the Vancouver Canucks has been sent to the Stockton Heat of the AHL. The team will likely hold the roster spot open for Lance Bouma’s return from injured reserve this week.
Shinkaruk was recalled exactly a month ago when Kris Versteeg was sidelined with a groin issue, and stayed with the team through various other injuries. The forward didn’t see much icetime however, as he only suited up for seven NHL games and played less than 10 minutes most nights. A single assist is all he can show for it and, as Mark Spector of Sportsnet says: “by all accounts, he’s not ready.”
The 22-year old Shinkaruk had a great season in the AHL last year, split between Utica and Stockton – he was traded for Markus Granlund in Feburary – scoring 51 points in 62 games. The former Medicine Hat Tiger has always been projected as a top-six forward capable of scoring in bunches, but hasn’t been given a real chance in the NHL yet.
Bouma, sidelined at the same time as Versteeg a month ago, has gotten into 13 contests this year and has just one point. The veteran forward is a much better fit for the bottom-six role, and offers a much more physical game. Just two seasons ago Bouma ranked seventh in the league in hits with 264 though has dealt with injuries since then. That was also his best offensive season, one in which he scored 16 goals and 34 points and looked like a key piece going forward for the upstart Flames.