Shinkaruk, Horvat and Gaunce Invited to WJHC Camp

Blake Murphy
July 29 2013 02:59PM

 

There are very few pictures available for public use. This guy's name is Bo, so I went with him. 

I have no doubts that Brendan Gaunce and Bo Horvat will eventually be the Tag Team Champions of the world, so the picture above comes without pause. I tried to somehow pun their names into a Franklin & Bash photo, but that didn't work either. Instead, that's "Bo Dallas" in his wrestling underwear. Sorry.

Anyway, Gaunce and Horvat will be getting a big chance to impress in early August, as both have been named to Team Canada's World Junior Development Camp roster. Horvat was named before the draft (the London Knights pimped it here) and Gaunce's addition was announced per a team press release in late June. Hunter Shinkaruk will also be attending. These items have been a bit under the radar but with the camp starting soon it's worth talking about.

On August 4, 38 players will travel to Quebec for a two-day mini-camp. From there, all but four (the creme de la creme of the Junior program - Drouin, MacKinnon, Reinhart, Rielly) will travel to Lake Placid for three exhibition games. The camp wraps up on August 10 and is the first chance for returning coach Brent Sutter and the brass to look at all of their options in advance of the 2014 World Junior Hockey Championships in Malmo, Sweden.

Shinkaruk, Gaunce and Horvat, the Vancouver Canucks representatives, will be in tough with a deep crop of forwards but the hope is that they'll impress and make the squad. 22 forwards will be in camp with just 13 positions likely available, and again it's worth noting that these are Canada's best young forwards, so competition is stiff. The size Gaunce and Horvat can bring to a skill-heavy camp could set them apart from the group, especially if they can display an ability to man the wing for spells. Shinkaruk, meanwhile, is smaller but comes with a strong pedigree and a stronger scoring touch than the other two have shown.

Gaunce is a big body down the middle who has averaged a point a game for two straight seasons in the OHL, while Horvat is a bit shorter, one year Gaunce's junior and with just one season of impressive scoring. Both players have high upsides and could be on the fast track for the NHL if the Canucks' third line centre job isn't won by someone currently on the active roster. 

Sutter, re-installed as the coach after leading Canada to Gold in 2005 and 2006, likes some size up front. It's likely Sutter will look to embed his style of play in the roster and Horvat and Gaunce can fit that mold. Horvat has good finishing skills but has the body type to to also play in front of the net. Gaunce is a more certain fit on the team, an NHL-ready body who is responsible in his own end and has actually played the wing for spells before.

Shinkaruk had 177 points in 130 WHL games the past two years and, while he may be on a slower track to the NHL, he has the talent to be a strong addition to the Canada squad. At 5'10" and 180lbs, his frame is the potential issue, though scouts say he plays hard despite it. High-end offensive skill is always at a premium, and it's tough to see such a prolific scorer not having a role at least as a power play specialist.

For Canuck fans, it's an opportunity to see the team's last three first round draft picks against elite competition. For Gaunce, it's a chance to prove he's NHL-ready, while Horvat will be looking to make the Canucks look bright for dealing Cory Schneider for him. One concern with Horvat is that the WOWY numbers show he may struggle without elite linemates - although this tournament isn't really a chance for him to disprove that, displaying versatility or playing down a line successfully could ease concerns that he can make the team before he's top-six ready. Shinkaruk will be looking to show that his numbers, strong even at an age-adjusted level, are not a mirage, and that his size won't impede him as the competition level improves.

The mini-camp and three exhbition games are likely to be scouting hotbeds without much else going on at this time of year, so the Army can expect some second-hand reports of how Shinkaruk, Horvat and Gaunce look among Canada's young elite over the next two weeks.

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Blake is a news editor at The Score and also writes basketball for Raptors Republic and baseball at Fangraphs/Rotographs. As such, he doesn't write at TLN nearly as much as he should. Give him a follow @BlakeMurphyODC.
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#1 Mantastic
July 30 2013, 10:00AM
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how can anyone think that Guance and Horvat will be future 1/2 centers? do you even see how many points they put up in junior?

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#2 Mantastic
July 30 2013, 11:15AM
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@JFR

playoffs is a small sample size he also led in playoff scoring because his team played the most amount of games.

points don't tell the whole story but they tell a lot about prospects and not scoring a ppg in junior is a huge red flag and really bad wowy #s. players that don't put up points in junior, don't suddenly change and put up points in the pros let alone the NHL.

IMO Guance has a better chance at making the NHL than Horvat and going by the numbers and skill level, they will not be top 6 forwards... a lot closer to bottom 6.

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#3 Mantastic
July 31 2013, 09:56AM
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@JFR

Steve Y put up a ton of points in junior...

they aren't two-way centers if they can't put up points. those are called defensive centers. Kesler at least put up above a .5ppg, Horvat and Guance both project below .4ppg i don't see how they will be 1st or 2nd C's on a good team.

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#4 Mantastic
July 31 2013, 10:01AM
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@JCDavies

Domi plays hunter hockey, as did Kadri, Kane, Gagner, Tavares, etc. etc. even playing defensive hockey in junior you should be putting up a lot of points if you have any offensive talent.

you can't teach offense to pro hockey players but you can teach defense.

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#5 Mantastic
July 31 2013, 01:00PM
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@JCDavies

regardless if he even does hit a ppg. that still projects to less than .4ppg in the NHL. and if you look at the skill difference between Horvat and Domi, there is a reason why Horvat isn't on the top scoring line.

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#6 Mantastic
July 31 2013, 01:04PM
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@JFR

that is true but it's a much longer shot if you can't put up points.

you can be a useful player but still not be top 1/2 centers, WHICH I WAS SAYING THE WHOLE TIME.

i don't know if you watch much junior hockey, but how would Horvat playing on a worse team make him score more points?! maybe you might want to look up monahan's numbers from last year to this year, where he played on an absolutely horrid team this year and put up the same points as last year while being on a better team and younger.

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#7 Mantastic
July 31 2013, 02:48PM
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@JCDavies

only difference in points would be on 5v5 as he still would play the same amount of time on the PP as he does currently. Domi is the one driving the bus on the top line anyways, playing with marginally better wingers isn't going to boost Horvats numbers as much as actually playing with Domi. and Horvat scored 61 in 67 games, not counting playoff hockey because it's a different beast and no one counts those stats together with reg season

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#8 Mantastic
July 29 2013, 03:17PM
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this year's WJC team canada will be pretty weak interms of experienced WJC players and talent level. most of the vets of last years team have graduated and players like Drouin and Mackinnon will be in the NHL. the only major name returning will be Subban, so more than likely Guance will make the team if he doesn't make the NHL next year.

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#9 Mantastic
July 29 2013, 03:17PM
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@huh

pretty sure he's still injured. he'll be on the team in Malmo.

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#10 Mantastic
July 29 2013, 03:23PM
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on a good WJC team, Shinkaruk would be the only guarantied player making the team and maybe Guance but since it's so weak this year, all 3 should have a good chance at making the team.

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#11 JCDavies
July 31 2013, 02:20PM
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@Mantastic

Sorry, misread your post.

I would assume that better teammates and easier competition is worth more that one extra point every 22 games.

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#12 huh
July 29 2013, 03:09PM
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wait.... no shinkaruk?

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#13 Salient
July 29 2013, 03:17PM
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As per http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=675599 Hunter is on the invite list.

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#15 Steve
July 29 2013, 03:22PM
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You forgot shinkaruk

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#17 Ruprecht
July 29 2013, 04:45PM
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Just good news all around. Give 'em hell boys.

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#18 JFR
July 29 2013, 05:35PM
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All three guys have a chance, but are hardly locks so we will see how they fair. It would be nice to see Gaunce and Horvat at the Juniors. Seems they would fit Sutters style, so impressing at camp would be a huge step. Could be a great 1st line/2nd line center combo for the future.

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#19 JFR
July 29 2013, 05:35PM
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All three guys have a chance, but are hardly locks so we will see how they fair. It would be nice to see Gaunce and Horvat at the Juniors. Seems they would fit Sutters style, so impressing at camp would be a huge step. Could be a great 1st line/2nd line center combo for the future.

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#20 Lemming
July 29 2013, 05:58PM
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It would be great to see all 3 make the team, but realistically Gaunce and maybe one of the other two will make it.

I also really hesitate to really feel good or bad about this. Sure it's kinda cool and gets us some fancy new summer hockey news, always welcome.

But there are quite a few highly touted prospects who turned out to be duds who played significant roles at the WJC, so my excitement as far as these guys being considered is rather tempered.

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#21 JDM
July 29 2013, 06:35PM
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For me, Shinkaruk should be a mortal lock for this. Who else is there with that level of offensive skill, except for players who will assuredly be in the NHL next year? I think you can pencil Mack and Drouin both in on their respective teams.

You'd think only one of Horvat and Gaunce would make it as they're likely to fill similar roles. Which to take is a tough call. Gaunce should have the edge, as he's older. Still, it's possible both make the cut, depending on whether guys like Monahan are playing in the NHL or not.

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#22 Bobert
July 29 2013, 11:23PM
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I think this is great for development. Hoping all 3 start in juniors/minors next year.

Not sure if Horvat and Gaunce are our future 1 and 2 centres. Gaunce is definitely top 6 if he works on skating. Horvat looks like he could be a top line guy but it is way too early to tell. Love the optimism and I'm hoping these guys pan out. Hunter might become a Pat Kane for us and that'd be pretty decent (hopefully without the character issues of a Kane).

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#23 JFR
July 30 2013, 10:44AM
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Mantastic wrote:

how can anyone think that Guance and Horvat will be future 1/2 centers? do you even see how many points they put up in junior?

To be fair pets in Junior don't really tell the whole story, unless we are talking about The Crosbys of the world. Many players put up tons of pts in Jr then can't break through in the NHL because they only score. This is where Bo has made himself into a two way center that is a team leader. That shows maturity beyond his years plus he led the playoffs in scoring. Playing two ways and scoring in the playoffs sounds like number 1 stuff to me. Gaunce probably won't be same level as Bo but same style of player which a lot of teams would love in top 6 forwards.

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#24 JFR
July 30 2013, 10:48AM
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Meant points not pets... Stupid spell correct.

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#25 g_r_r
July 30 2013, 12:43PM
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Looking at the development camp roster and assuming guys like MacKinnon, Drouin and Monohan are in the NHL...I would see the roster as:

Leipsic-Max Domi-Petan Rychel-Gaunce-Shinkaruk Hudon-Horvat-Rupert Wilson-Lazar-Laughton Reinhart or McDavid

Rielly-Reinhart Dumba-Severson Pouliot-Finn Nurse

Fucale Comrie

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#26 andyg
July 30 2013, 08:36PM
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Mantastic wrote:

playoffs is a small sample size he also led in playoff scoring because his team played the most amount of games.

points don't tell the whole story but they tell a lot about prospects and not scoring a ppg in junior is a huge red flag and really bad wowy #s. players that don't put up points in junior, don't suddenly change and put up points in the pros let alone the NHL.

IMO Guance has a better chance at making the NHL than Horvat and going by the numbers and skill level, they will not be top 6 forwards... a lot closer to bottom 6.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that these guys will be 100 point players in the NHL. These boys are more like Kesler. Good two way centers are coveted by any hockey coach. Defense wins championships. Kesler never put up big numbers.

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#27 JFR
July 30 2013, 10:06PM
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Mantastic wrote:

playoffs is a small sample size he also led in playoff scoring because his team played the most amount of games.

points don't tell the whole story but they tell a lot about prospects and not scoring a ppg in junior is a huge red flag and really bad wowy #s. players that don't put up points in junior, don't suddenly change and put up points in the pros let alone the NHL.

IMO Guance has a better chance at making the NHL than Horvat and going by the numbers and skill level, they will not be top 6 forwards... a lot closer to bottom 6.

You dont have to score 80-100 pts a season to be a great NHL center. I believe that Horvat sacrificed some offense to be better defensively. Two way centers with size are a find for any team. If the Canucks hit with these two guys the future will be bright. Wont be West Coast Express or the Cirque De Sedin, but more like Stevie Y hard nosed tough hockey which Western Canada should appreciate. The pointof bringing up playoffs is the Canucks regular season scoring versus playoff scoring problems. Tough minded big time players come through in the big games and I think Bo knows that.

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#28 JCDavies
July 31 2013, 12:04AM
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@Mantastic

I agree the WOWY #s are definitely concerning but the sample size was pretty small.

The PPG #s might be influenced by 'Hunter Hockey', player usage (2nd line, more defensive responsibility) and other factors (QoT, QoC).

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#29 JCDavies
July 31 2013, 11:21AM
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@Mantastic

Horvat didn't miss the PPG bar you set by much: 4 points after 88 games. It is not difficult to imagine that on a different team, in a different situation, he makes that bar and this isn't even a concern.

We know that Horvat and Domi didn't play together that often - which likely makes Horvat the 2C and Domi the 1C. Without knowing how Hunter uses his 2C or what type of situations he put those players (Kadri, Kane, Gagner, Tavares, etc) in, it is difficult to form definitive conclusions.

We also know that Horvat faced stronger competition than Domi while playing with lower quality teammates.

https://twitter.com/MattyPfeffer/status/356801843063566336

If you swap Horvat and Domi and give Horvat the more favorable situations, he easily scores a PPG, IMHO.

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#30 JFR
July 31 2013, 12:05PM
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Mantastic wrote:

Steve Y put up a ton of points in junior...

they aren't two-way centers if they can't put up points. those are called defensive centers. Kesler at least put up above a .5ppg, Horvat and Guance both project below .4ppg i don't see how they will be 1st or 2nd C's on a good team.

This is the kind of thinking that let's the Tanevs and Shultz's of the hockey world slip through teams fingers. A 19 yr old cant improve or a guy like Alex Burrows is too small and can' only play in the ECHL. Stats are a good, but something tells me if Horvat was on a lower echelon team his points would have gone way up. Stevie Y was an extreme example of the type of center he could be, HOF is tough to predict for any player. For Canucks fans, maybe Trevor Linden is a better example. For all I have seen on the kid it seems the consensus is that he is a winner and does what the team needs to win. Having a guy that scores 20 goals takes face offs in all three zones, can play PP or PK and is tough to play against is what he projects to. Doing a lot of things well can make you as great a player as someone that is a scorer.

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#31 JCDavies
July 31 2013, 01:18PM
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@Mantastic

What are you basing this off of? You are not using stats anymore.

There are enough extenuating circumstances to defer judgement IMO.

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#32 JCDavies
July 31 2013, 03:19PM
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@Mantastic

Perhaps. It's all speculation at this point, which is why I suggested that more time is needed before passing judgement.

I am not sure how the Knight's special teams were organized but if Horvat and Domi were only on the ice together for 11 goals this season (9 for, 2 against), it might suggest that they weren't on the same special teams units. If this is true, and Horvat was given more 1st unit PP time, we could expect to see a difference in PP points as well.

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