Learning more about a top 2013 prospect - Hunter Shinkaruk.
Hunter Shinkaruk doesn’t let anything get in his way. Breaking his leg in midget, being one of the last cuts from Canada’s world junior squad this past winter, and not playing with an elite linemate have not slowed him down.
The 5-11 and 175 pound center for the Medicine Hat Tigers finished the season 14th in WHL regular season scoring with 37 goals and 49 assists for a total of 86 points in 64 games. While his point and goal totals are down from the 2011-12 season, his points per game rate of 1.34 from this season is still fairly close to his 1.38 rate from last season.
It’s worth noting Shinkaruk did not have the luxury of riding shotgun to Anaheim Ducks winger Emerson Etem this season. Last season Etem made it look easy, leading the league with 61 goals and 107 points. From a development standpoint, Shinkaruk also made strides as he captained the Tigers this season.
He led the seventh-place Tigers as they swept the second place Memorial Cup host Saskatoon Blades in the first round of the WHL finals. The team was swept in the next round by the Curtis Lazar’s Edmonton Oil Kings. He finished the playoffs with three goals and three assists in eight games.
Resilient to adversity
As a 14-year old, Shinkaruk broke both his tibia and fibula in his right leg while playing with the Calgary Royals in Midget AAA. Despite missing all but three games that season, he made the jump to the WHL seamlessly putting up 42 points in his rookie season.
If this season was a non-lockout year, chances are Shinkaruk would have made Canada’s world junior team this past winter as he was the among the group of forwards cut on the day the roster was finalized. Assuming he isn’t playing in the NHL next season, he should be a lock for the 2014 squad.
Where he’ll be drafted
Shinkaruk really made a name for himself at the Under-18 world championship in Czech Republic in April 2012 when he scored a hat-trick, including the overtime goal, in the bronze medal game versus Finland.
Shinkaruk can expect his name to be called somewhere in the 5th to 15th range. NHL Central Scouting has him ranked 5th among North American Skaters. International Scouting Services has him ranked 13th overall, falling a few slots from his season high ranking of 7th in November. TSN scout Craig Button has Shinkaruk ranked 12th in his April rankings.
Scouts like Shinkaruk because he is a fast forward who knows how to find the back of the net with his quick hands and hockey sense.
DobberProspects Brendan Ross wrote a column for DobberHockey in November 2011 comparing him to Patrick Kane, a comparison made both because of the two players size and ability to find open scoring areas. Ross was on the mark when he said “Go ahead and chalk down the name “Hunter Shinkaruk” as a potential top ten 2013 NHL draftee.”
Where you should take him
Fantasy owners may have to wait until the 2014-2015 season for Shinkaruk to be a viable option. The defensive side of his game and his leadership will speed up the process of him playing in the big leagues. At 175 pounds, he will need to bulk up a little. In keeper and dynasty drafts next year, I wouldn’t hesitate to grab him soon after MacKinnon, Drouin, Barkov and Monahan are off the board. After the 2014 World Juniors in Sweden, you’ll have no chance of landing this stud prospect.
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