The Habs made a minor trade on Monday, acquiring winger Hunter Shinkaruk from Calgary in exchange for winger Kerby Rychel. Montreal then quickly signed Shinkaruk to a one-year, two-way deal. He will receive $650,000 at the NHL level and $80,000 in the minors with a total guaranteed pay of $105,000.
Shinkaruk was a first round pick (24th overall) back in 2013 by Vancouver but has yet to make much of a mark since then. He has a total of 15 career NHL games played between Vancouver and Calgary, scoring twice while adding a pair of assists.
Last season, the 23-year-old played in 63 games at the AHL level with Stockton, recording 17 goals and 15 assists. He had to clear waivers to make it to the minors last season and is a relatively safe bet to do so again this season.
As for Rychel, he was part of the return the Canadiens received from Toronto back in February as part of the Tomas Plekanec deal. He was quite productive with Laval after the deal, recording a dozen points in 16 games before finishing off the season with the big club where he had a goal and an assist in four NHL contests.
Between the Marlies and Rocket, the 23-year-old Rychel had 18 goals and 24 assists in 71 games. He has a bit more NHL experience under his belt, amassing 41 games between Columbus (who drafted him 19th overall in 2013) and Montreal, scoring three goals while adding 11 assists.
Rychel, who also signed a one-year, league minimum deal hours after the trade was completed, is the better offensive player of the two but Shinkaruk is the better skater, albeit the more undersized as well, standing in at just 5’10. Montreal’s newest acquisition has also spent a little bit of time down the middle but he’s better off on the wing.
The deal amounts to swapping a pair of underachieving first round picks in the hopes that a change of scenery will help one or both of them. Considering Michael McCarron remains unsigned as well, it will be interesting to see if a similar fate awaits him down the road.