Player: Hunter Shinkaruk
Drafted By: Vancouver Canucks (24th overall)
Final Central Scouting Ranking: No. 6 North American skater
Height/Weight: 5'11'', 175 lbs
DOB: October 13, 1994 (18 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: WHL, Medicine Hat Tigers
Hunter Shinkaruk is a flashy offensive forward for the Medicine Hat Tigers. He has a late birthday, so he has already spent three seasons in the WHL.
After scoring 14 goals and 42 points in his first season, Shinkaruk exploded with 49 goals and 91 points in 66 games in 2011-12. This past season, he "only" scored 37 goals but still accumulated 86 points in 64 games.
The Calgary native has been a dependable top-line scoring threat for the last two seasons.
Full Scouting Report
Scouts peg Shinkaruk as an offensive forward—the kind of player who can put the puck into the net. He has scored 86 goals and 177 points in the last two seasons. He is also a great skater, which helps make his skills more lethal.
A scout for McKeen's Hockey described Shinkaruk by saying:
This guy can score. He’s a very dynamic skater, he can create off the rush and he’s very good in transition. He’s a little bit small, but he’s a point-producing guy – probably more of a special teams player at the next level. He’s got to learn to play with more commitment away from the puck and he’s got to learn to play with more intensity and enthusiasm.
The biggest concerns about Shinkaruk are his lack of size and his tendency to be less responsible in his own zone. Because he has such great offensive skills, he has not needed to develop the defensive side of his game as much in the WHL.
But Shinkaruk has skills you can't teach and a love for the game that is contagious. Ross MacLean of International Scouting Services said:
He is strong on the puck, has quick reactions and knows how to score goals. He typically is the player on the ice who pushes the pace of play and forces everyone else to play the game at his speed. He has great hands and is extremely tenacious around the puck. I don’t think I’ve come across a player who loves the sport as much as Shinkaruk and his passion to be on the ice, scoring goals and winning games is unbelievable.
NHL Player Comparison
Evander Kane of the Winnipeg Jets. Shinkaruk isn't big, but he skates well, has enthusiasm for the game and has the vision and hands to be a special offensive player in the NHL.
With his explosive offensive skills, Shinkaruk could find himself in the NHL right away in the 2013-14 season. With a strong training camp this fall, he should at least get a nine-game audition before this team has to decide whether or not to send him back to juniors for another year. He may be a power-play specialist as a rookie, but he has the skills to produce at the NHL level right away under the right circumstances.
Most scouts project Shinkaruk to be a top-line center. He has great vision, hockey sense and quick hands, which should mean he sees plenty of ice time, eventually finds himself on the top power-play unit and, if he improves his defensive game just a little, could have leadership potential because of his enthusiasm and love of the game.