Calgary Flames Introduction; Who is Artem Grushnikov?

Calgary Flames, Artem Grushnikov
Calgary Flames, Artem Grushnikov / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Calgary Flames finally pulled the trigger on a Chris Tanev trade on Wednesday, landing a second-round pick and a conditional future third-round pick from the Dallas Stars, but the most intriguing piece in the deal is defenseman Artem Grushnikov.

To most, the 20-year old is just a throw-in pick from the Stars, but when you look a little deeper, it's hard to not be excited about the Russian-born 2021 second-round pick. While he may not be a name that has been floated around in potential deals, Grushnikov appears to be exactly what the Flames are looking for in a future blue liner, with many on social media even comparing him to a younger Chris Tanev.

With the addition of offensive minded defenseman Etienne Morin and Hunter Brzustewicz over the past 12 months, the Flames were looking for a defensive minded blue liner, and they may have found him here. Grushnikov is currently 44 games into his first full AHL season following 65 games in the OHL last year, and it's safe to say it's easy to see the Tanev traits.

Like Tanev, Grushnikov shows very few flashes offensively and is considered a pass-first, hard-nosed, shutdown defenseman, with GM Craig Conroy calling him the perfect compliment to their young core of defensemen that could lead the Flames for years to come.

In 44 games this season, Grushnikov has just one goal and 4 assists for the Texas Stars, and will likely start with the Calgary Wranglers immediately, and at 20-years old, he has the chance to ascend to the Flames third pairing in short order. He was originally the No. 48 overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, taken just four picks after Calgary passed on Logan Stankoven for William Stromgren, so it's very likely that the team already had plenty of intel on him.

When interviewed shortly after the trade, Grushnikov couldn't contain his excitement as he played two years in the OHL with the Hamilton Bulldogs and reportedly loves it north of the border.

"“I can’t explain my emotions right now. I’m so excited to be part of Calgary; I’m heading back to Canada and I’m so excited.”"

Artem Grushnikov.

When asked to describe his game and what the future might look like, this is what he had to say;

""I’m a defensive defenceman, I play strong hockey,” he said. “(I) try to do the best for the team in the D-zone, penalty-kill, everything.

“I’m working on my offensive game (too), trying (to grow).”"

Artem Grushnikov.

Some Flames fans may be disappointed by the return, but when you look at a 20-year old that wants to be in Canada, plays tough hockey like the man he was traded for and reportedly brings a top notch work ethic and a positive attitude, it's hard not to be excited about another potential piece of the future.