Team: Medicine Hat (WHL)
Date of Birth: October 13, 1994
Place of Birth: Calgary, Alberta
Ht: 5'11" Wt: 175 lbs
2012-2013 Regular Season Stats:
2012-2013 Playoff Stats:
Hunter Shinkaruk enters the draft with pretty eye-popping numbers, though it must be noted that he's a bit old for this draft class. That said, you can't look at an 86-point season in 64 games and not be impressed. Shinkaruk is undersized, but skates with speed, has vision and hands, and has a motor that never quits. His attitude is great; he served as Medicine Hat's Captain this past season.
His size may scare some teams off, as will his lack of a true two-way game. But, for any teams needing pure offensive skill who are willing to take on a smaller player, Shinkaruk might be a great fit.
Shinkaruk is ranked #6 in the final Central Scouting North American Skater rankings.
Shinkaruk has been a top scorer in the WHL over the past two seasons. Despite being a little on the smaller side, he deserves a top 10 ranking, as he possesses an immense amount of unique offensive talent. He moves effortlessly as a skater, showing the ability to gain power from each stride. That allows him to divert more energy to playmaking. His agility makes him tough to check in open ice. He turns his hips a lot, and his wide skating stance makes it difficult to predict where he will move. That said, his speed only ranks as good, not top end. Shinkaruk has rapid hands, and he can be very dangerous due to his creativity and coordination. Shinkaruk's physical game is his main issue. He is a small player, but he does work hard. He shows the ability to grind for the puck, but he will need to become stronger to keep it at the next level.
Scoring ability is the defining skill that Hunter Shinkaruk brings to the table. Undersized and overmatched physically, Shinkaruk has that rare hockey sense that goal scorers possess with his ability to be in the right place at the right time. Already in his 3rd season, Shinkaruk has been productive every year and is now showing that he can carry the offensive workload.
Shinkaruk’s playmaking ability is not elite, but it’s a strength of his game and something he uses to keep the defense off balance in terms of what he’s going to do. Overall, however, NHL teams will have to question how his 200-foot game translates to the NHL level at his size.
Why he'd be a good fit in Columbus:
In terms of his pure offensive ability, he'd be a great fit. He's a fast and agile skater who can dangle the puck in space, set up teammates, and finish when he gets the chance. That having been said, he's small, he doesn't play a physical game, and he doesn't really play a two-way game.
The way I look at it, though, is that guys can get stronger on an NHL strength and conditioning program. He's bigger than guys like Matt Calvert and Cam Atkinson, and brings the same kind of speed and intensity of Calvert as well as the finishing and offense of someone like Atkinson. With a strong foundation in place systemically, a player like Shinkaruk could fit right in in time and provide some good scoring punch.
He also would be a continuation of the recent trend of bringing in high-character guys, as he served as Medicine Hat's Captain this season. This would put him in the same category as Ryan Murray and Boone Jenner as other recent high picks who served as their junior club's Captain.
Shinkaruk in Action: