NHL Rumors: Artem Grushnikov Deepens Calgary’s Prospect Pool

Calgary Flames Strengthen Their Defensive Prospect Pool

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button joined SportsCenter with Jay Onrait and broke down the Chris Tanev trade from Calgary to Dallas and what the Flames are getting in defenseman Artem Grushnikov.

** NHLRumors.com transcription

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Jay Onrait: “Here’s our Director of Scouting, Craig Button, to talk about the trade. Craig, for a while, it looked like the Flames were just holding out for that potential first-round pick for Chris Tanev. It did not happen for Craig Conroy. They got a second-round pick. They get a conditional third, the person I’m most intrigued to ask you about his 20-year-old prospect, Artem Grushnikov. How do you overall think Craig Conroy did in this deal?”

Craig Button: “What is the understanding that Craig Conroy is looking at this with Chris Tanev? Who he knows has been an outstanding player for the Calgary Flames, and there can be no question about that or debate, but understand he’s an unrestricted free agent, understanding where he wants to go with his team.

So this is about the future for Craig Conroy, but when you get a defenseman, in this case, Artem Grushnikov, you’re getting a really hard, competitive defensive defenseman. That’s what Grushnikov is. He’s a really strong skater. He’s territorial, positionally sound, and understands what his game is. He’s not going to contribute a lot of offense, but he’s going to be able to kill penalties, block shots, and be a really hard defender. Did that not just describe, perhaps, a young Chris Tanev?

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And so when you look at it from Craig Conroy’s point of view, he’s not just looking at it in isolation. He’s looking at it with his entire Blue Line prospect, and his prospects are Yan Kuznetsov, a big, strong defender. Then you got Jeremie Poirier a really good offensive skating defenseman. You have Etienne Morin, their second-round draft pick last year, a really great puck handler who makes a lot of things happen offensively. Now you had Grunshnikov, so you’re trying to build out an area of your team that can give you real strength.

Grushnikov was part of the Hamilton Bulldogs that won the OHL Championship and went to the Memorial Cup. He’s played very well for the Texas Stars in the American Hockey League. And he is a player that I don’t think there’s any doubt in my mind that he will play in the NHL and be a really good, solid, steady, consistent, dependable defender. A

nd I think that’s what Craig Conroy was looking for, what I like to call Jay; he was looking to get commensurate value we can look at and go, oh, he wanted a first-round draft pick, but that’s fine. You can ask for the moon.

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But when you start to get a reality of what is really realistic, and then you can be comfortable with what the return is. I think Craig Conroy has to feel really good about this return.

And on the flip side, the Dallas Stars have made a major statement getting Chris Tanev because Craig Conroy is looking at it for the future perspective; the Dallas Stars are looking at it for right now and trying to make themselves a better contender for the Stanley Cup. Chris Tanev? Absolutely does.”