Clever name for a title hey? At least you know this will be a goalie controversy free article. There will be no talk about how the Sedins aren’t producing yet or how Sven Baertschi is close to losing his job. Ok that last one may get mentioned. Hunter Shinkaruk is having an other worldly start to his Utica Comets season. The skinny is as follows:
Translation = NHL bound.
Shinkaruk now has 2 hat tricks to start the season and he is becoming a true pro. He’s healthy, he’s producing and he’s doing the things that got him drafted back in 2013. It’s no surprise that when touted future stars get the proper time and space they need to succeed, they usually do, unless you’re Alexandre Daigle or Patrik Stefan. Hunter has been given a challenge and he’s taken it and ran with it.
It will only be a matter of time before he gets called up to the Canucks and if he does anything like he already has in Utica, he won’t be going back. It would have been nice if Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk could have cracked the lineup together but with Hunter’s inability to be a true 200 foot player, he was sent down and had to hone his skills in Utica.
This season again, he didn’t crack the opening night roster but that only seemed to push him harder. He’s getting top line minutes right now and as I said before, the goals are aplenty. Here’s a recap of his 2nd hat trick of the year:
— Canucks Prospects (@NucksWatch) November 10, 2015
For Shinkaruk to get called up however, would require an injury or a brutally slumping winger to create that position. Sven Baertschi is a possible candidate but not for lack of trying. Willie Desjardins has failed to get him the same opportunities that maybe Jake Virtanen may get. Putting the puck in the net doesn’t happen every shift and Baertschi has sure tried to stay relevant, which can’t be said for many Canucks on a nightly basis.
If a trade is in the works for say Radim Vrbata or Chris Higgins, that could spell the end of Shink’s AHL stint. His gift for goals and his flare when he celebrates them are all things Canucks fans have yearned for since the good old days (2009-2011). The youth movement has grown steadily in the last season and even more so this year with 3 rookies making the club.
The Canucks need goals, speed and a bit more grit. Shinkaruk is proving he can bring all those things and put on a line with either Horvat or Sutter along with wingers Virtanen or Hansen would really give the budding star a big boost. You can’t put a star on the 4th line. It just doesn’t work. Dropping Shinkaruk with Horvat, whom he has great chemistry with along with Hansen would really pack a solid punch and give Hansen an opportunity to distract more and create chances for the kids.
Here’s an article from 2013 that dives into Bo and Hunter’s chemistry.
How Hunter gets called up has yet to be seen but it’s coming and when it does be ready. We might just be seeing the full transition of the Canucks and more losses because of that is a by product of letting them blend in. When it clicks, it’s going to be life changing.
I’m predicting Shinkaruk is called up within the next month and that might be a little bit shy. What we saw of him in his first preseason was enough for me. He can score goal scorers goals and he drives the net. We currently have maybe 2 guys, nay 3 that do that(Horvat, McCann, Burrows…Hansen?). They aren’t the Sedins.
Hate to go all homer but with Connor McDavid out, the Canucks could really take the rookie spotlight by storm and what a time to do it! You have to think Don Cherry is a fan.
I wrote about Hunter Shinkaruk. He’s coming.
cover photo: Utica Comets