Vancouver Canucks prospect Hunter Shinkaruk shines in 3-1 win over Flames


Sep 25, 2014; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks center Hunter Shinkaruk (48) scores a goal as Calgary Flames goalie Brad Thiessen (35) guards his net during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Vancouver Canucks won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Hunter Shinkaruk’s final Junior season didn’t go as planned as an injury had him out of the picture for the World Juniors after being pegged as an early lock to make Team Canada and his Medicine Hat Tigers season was also short lived as a hip injury kept him off of the ice for much of 2013/14. Because of that it makes sense that Shinkaruk is making up for lost time in September with the Vancouver Canucks, putting up numbers and looking like one of the Canucks most NHL ready prospects.

Calgary born Shinkaruk shined on a line with Chris Higgins, assisting the first Canucks goal in the first period before sealing the win in front of his hometown friends and family in the third period with the 3-1 goal. It was the type of goal that the Canucks hope to get out of Shinkaruk, a nice rebound marker that came from the 24th overall selection in the 2013 NHL Draft being in the right spot in front of the net. A hustle goal that shows how hard Shinkaruk is working to get back into form after his injury filled season last year.

Talking after the game, Shinkaruk was happy after being apart of both Vancouver wins so far in the preseason. Coming back from injury after being one of the final cuts on then head coach John Tortorella’s team, the pick from Mike Gillis’ regime feels “100 per cent” and feels stronger as well as faster after putting in the work to get healthy for a push to make the roster this season.

From The Canadian Press: 

"Playing in front of a bunch of friends and family in his hometown, Shinkaruk scored his second goal in as many games on Thursday, helping the Canucks to a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames.Shinkaruk tipped a shot from Kent Huskins on net that was stopped, but he batted the rebound out of mid-air and past Brad Thiessen at the 9:49 mark of the third period.“It’s been really good. Our team has played really well in both of the games I’ve played. It’s been fun,” said the 19-year-old, who was selected 24th in the 2013 NHL Draft. “It’s always exciting playing hockey, especially for me that I haven’t played in a while.”Shinkaruk was one of the final cuts for Vancouver at training camp a year ago. Following that was a disappointing season with the Western Hockey League’s Medicine Hat Tigers that was cut short by a hip injury that limited him to just 18 games.“I feel great. I feel 100 per cent. I feel a lot better than I did last year,” Shinkaruk said. “I got a little bit stronger. I feel a little bit quicker. I feel like it’s helped me out a lot and I’m definitely happy all the hard work has paid off.”Known as a goal scorer, he knows that’s what he has to contribute if he hopes to make the Canucks.“That’s the kind of the role I have to play. I know that, I think everyone else knows that so I put pressure on myself to produce and obviously, scoring in my home town tonight was something that I’ll never forget.”"

It is no secret that many expect Shinkaruk to crack the Canucks roster, after all the team is looking to rebuild while staying competitive which makes a player that can produce on a line with veterans valuable to keep around to develop at the NHL level. Shinkaruk is clearly one of those players so far, working well with Higgins and producing in mostly every game this September he has played in dating back to the Young Stars exhibitions in Penticton. There are tough roster decisions to make in Vancouver in the next couple of weeks, but with the way Hunter Shinkaruk is playing as of late one of those decisions might be easier to make for head coach Willie Desjardins as if the former Tiger can continue to produce over the next couple of weeks there may be no choice to keep him around. If current form holds true, the Utica Comets shouldn’t get any Shinkaruk jerseys prepared anytime soon.