Normally, I would do some sappy introduction about a
particular National Hockey League team. However, just for the sake of variety,
I am switching it up a bit. This article will introduce you to Hunter
Shinkaruk, who is a center for the Western Hockey League's Medicine Hat Tigers.
The 2010-2011 WHL season was Shinkaruk's first year
and he did not disappoint. In 63 games, he accumulated 14 goals and dished out
28 assists, making him one of the best rookies in the WHL that year.
Last season saw an explosion in the goal-scoring
department. Shinkaruk finished the season with 49 goals and 42 assists, second
only to Anaheim Ducks prospect Emerson Etem, who scored 61 goals and added 46
This season is Shinkaruk's third season in Medicine
Hat, and he has picked up right where he left off., currently posting eight
points in seven games. Moreover, the pressure to perform will be more profound
and the spotlight will definitely be on him.
Shinkaruk is drawing comparisons to Chicago
Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane. Scouts state that the elite playmaking ability
of Shinkaruk, as well as his handling of the puck, is what he and Kane have in
He is one of the best puck handlers in the WHL and
has the innate ability to provide time and space for his teammates.
Much like Kane, Shinkaruk takes a cerebral approach
to the game. He finds an opening and breaks away from coverage, which provides
for tremendous scoring opportunities. This may be his most valuable asset. In
addition, his hockey intelligence and stick skill makes him a very dangerous
The only possible knock on Hunter Shinkaruk is his
size. He is listed at 5-foot-10-inches and a hair above 160 pounds. However,
his strong base makes taking the puck away from him a strenuous task.
placed Shinkaruk in the upper echelon of the skaters eligible for the draft. I
would say that Hunter Shinkaruk is a top ten selection. Moreover, he will bring
instant scoring help to any team that chooses him.
On Tuesday's edition of the Prospect Preview, we
will talk about Steven Hodges, who is current in the Florida Panthers farm