Vancouver Canucks prospect Hunter Shinkaruk looking to impress in September


Sep 18, 2013; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Mark Acrobello (62) reaches across Vancouver Canucks forward Hunter Shinkaruk (48) during the third period at Rogers Arena. The Edmonton Oilers won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

A new regime in Vancouver means plenty of new opportunities with new and open minds being brought in who may potentially have different views on the upside of prospects or veteran players who had a different role in the previous era of management. That is what Canucks prospects are hoping is the case as a new head coach, new general manager and new president are all coming in to evaluate a group of players for the first time as a group this September leading up to the 2014/15 season.

With a chance to jump up the ladder in the Canucks system, prospects are already looking to impress at the annual Young Stars event in Penticton where after Curtis Valk grabbed headlines following his debut a fellow Medicine Hat Tigers teammate with a much higher profile made his case for an early first impression with a multiple goal night in a second straight OT loss as Hunter Shinkaruk wowed against the Winnipeg Jets Sunday.

Returning from a disappointing final Junior season where surgery following being cut by the World Junior team put Shinkaruk on the shelf for much of the year with Medicine Hat, the former first round pick from the Gillis era is hoping to impress this month with new faces in charge in Willie Desjardins, Trevor Linden and Jim Benning.

From the Canadian Press: 

"Now back healthy, and with both Gillis and Tortorella gone after Vancouver’s disastrous 2013-14 season, Shinkaruk has an opportunity to start fresh in the organization that drafted him.“With so many new people in the upper management and the coaching staff you’ve got to come in and show them what you’re all about,” said Shinkaruk. “Last year’s camp is basically out the window. It doesn’t matter too much. I’ve got to come in and play my game and let them know what kind of player I am.“First impression is pretty huge in any profession so I’ve just got to go out there and do my best.”"

While wanting to make as good of a first impression as possible, Shinkaruk also included the classic cliche that he will do so while playing his own game and will be trying to have some fun in addition to trying to impress new bosses in what will be an important audition that will determine whether or not the 24th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft will be headed to the AHL or to a rookie year in Vancouver.

“I think you’ve just got to come in and play your game,” said Shinkaruk to the CP. “Obviously we all have an opportunity to catch the GM and coach’s eye, and that’s what you’ve got to do. We’ve got to go out there, have fun, but most of all, play our game. I’m sure if I do that everything will work out well.”

Shinkaruk also touched on his disappointing Junior year where injuries and failing to make the Canadian Junior team pushed the youngster mentally. Coming back from a hip injury that slowed him to end his final year as a Junior player in Medicine Hat, the talented young forward said it feels good to be back on the ice with the Canucks and playing the game again with a hip that he described as “100 per cent.”

“Obviously last year was a pretty emotional year,” said Shinkaruk. “I went through a lot. It feels really good to be back on the ice and know my hip’s 100 per cent.”

The potential is there for Shinkaruk to head to Utica for a year of seasoning with the Comets, but there is also a chance that the former first overall pick realizes his initial potential following an injury plagued year and makes the roster to avoid a stint in the minors. With the potential of Curtis Valk making the AHL roster and a Medicine Hat Tigers connection in Utica it may not be the end of the world if Shinkaruk returns from injury in the minors, but the left winger will be doing everything possible to impress the new Canucks staff enough to start his NHL dream as early as possible.