Hunter Shinkaruk cut from Team Canada’s World Junior squad


At the start of the season, I presumed that the Canucks might have three of four prospects at Team Canada’s selection camp this season for the World Juniors, with most recent first round picks Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk, as well as last year’s first rounder Brendan Gaunce. Maybe there was a spot somewhere for Belleville’s Jordan Subban.

Ultimately though, Hockey Canada decided to go with a 25-man camp this year, cutting Gaunce and Subban before it began. Bo Horvat was a lock all through the camp, but Shinkaruk, who has been nursing a hagging hip injury this year and had just 16 points so far in 18 games, was one of the first cuts from the camp, along with New Jersey prospect Damon Severson.

This was probably a decision between Shinkaruk and Detroit second rounder and QMJHL leading scorer Anthony Mantha, who is having a career year with the Val-d’Or Foreurs. Surely there are going to be some people second-guessing the Canucks’ brass decision to select Shinkaruk, who was once considered a lottery pick for the 2013 draft but wound up slipping to 24th.

Here’s Corey Pronman’s take on things:

Anthony Mantha (DET) beat out Hunter Shinkaruk (VAN) in a battle for a spot on Canada, as the latter was cut. Mantha didn’t do a ton early on, but later in the game showed the speed and offensive creativity that makes him pretty desirable as a prospect for a big man. Shinkaruk has not looked himself since a hip injury in October for the last few weeks and this cut almost seemed inevitable.

Pretty much.

Here’s Mantha’s goal today for Team Canada in the pre-tournament game against Finland:

I’d hope that this goal wasn’t the determining factor, but throughout camp I’d been pretty bearish on Shinkaruk’s chances at the camp. He had the disadvantage of being a winger on a team full of centres, and competing for a spot with a player like Mantha who has been absolutely dominant this season in the Q. Mantha has also some chemistry with Jonathan Drouin and Charles Hudon, also on the team. I’d think that once Drouin enters the lineup for Canada (he’s been sitting games out, mostly precautionary, due to a concussion sustained) coach Brent Sutter may go back to that Q line.

So the bad news is that Shinkaruk is out, but the good news is that Bo Horvat is a lock for the final spot, and was actually getting some minutes alongside Connor McDavid and Sam Reinhart, two talented wunderkinds who may very well be the top picks in the 2015 and 2014 drafts, respectively.

Here’s a little bit of what McDavid can do: he avoided a check while simultaneously dishing a puck off to Horvat for the finish:

So the Canucks will have one of their prospects on Team Canada, for the first time since Cody Hodgson in 2009 (coincidentally, the last time Canada won gold). That is unless something frightful happens against Sweden and he doesn’t make the team’s final 22-man group, but right now I’d assume Horvat is a lock.

  • Just One Cup

    I was hoping to diversify my prospect voyeurism amongst three shiny Canuck toys.

    I suppose I’ll have to cross my fingers that Bo Horvat is the next Cody Hodgson…

  • Just One Cup

    Yeah I’m disappointed Hunter got cut, given the interviews I’ve seen with him stating how much he wanted to play for Team Canada.

    Too bad with the injury that slowed him down. I do think he would have made the team had he been healthy and firing on all cylinders right now.

    He did score a goal for the WHL against the Russians a few weeks ago that I thought may have helped his chances but perhaps the coaching staff (I believe it was Sutter) saw some other things….

  • Just One Cup

    There is a reason Sihinkaruk dropped so far in the draft. He is overrated and shouldn’t even have been invited to camp. Another wasted pick by the canuckleheads.

  • andyg

    Pretty much how I saw it going down…then got trashed for posting so by the Shinkaruk crowd.

    Looks like Horvat is going to play a pretty big role on this team. Should be fun to watch what he does with it. No shame being one of the last cuts for Shinkaruk, he was playing catch-up from the moment he got hurt. Lot’s of good players never even make it to camp. Personally speaking, he still looks really light. Horvat definitely belongs. Very few people will dispute his roster spot.

  • Just One Cup

    It’s not a bad thing for some young players to face – and learn to deal with – a little adversity. One of the reasons I like Shinkaruk is because of the major chip on his shoulder he totes around. I think the bitter disappointment of not making Team Canada will make that chip even bigger and put even more fuel in his furnace.

    He needs to get healthy. When he does, I expect him to tear it up.

  • Just One Cup

    No chance Hunter is a wasted pick. I watched him at the mastercard centre (small sample size, I know) against the uni kids. Shinkaruk had hands, wheels and he was chippy. Really liked his game. reminds of pat verbeek – total complement…google `little ball of hate’ I’d bet big that hunter will be a quality NHLer in a few years.

  • andyg

    If he needs surgery I hope they get it done. I hate it when they wait until the end of the year and then the kid gets no time to to work out and be ready for camp.

  • andyg

    Juniors are a short tourney and the brass will go with a hot hand over a guy that has had an injury plagued season, it’s too bad I was really hoping to see both Horvat and Shinkaruk play against the worlds best. I bet if his hip wasn’t hurt he would have been on team Canada. No need to trash the kids future.

  • Fred-65

    What I saw of Shinkaruk I liked. He’s natural goal scorer. Scores from impossible angles and just has the knack or the touch for scoring. It’s why he was the left draft pick to be cut from Vcr pre season.

  • Fred-65

    This doesn’t change my opinion of Shinkaruk at all. I was super-excited when the Canucks selected him (I was worried theyd go after Adam Erne).

    Of all the Canucks forward prospects, I believe that Hunter will be the best scorer among them.

    At this point, I see Horvat as a 2nd line two-way centre who will score in the 50-60 range, maybe a career year or two at 70. Gaunce will be more of third-line centre who can maybe score more than the average 3rd liner…40 points.

    Jensen is really struggling, but I think he’ll score 30 goals one day. But I see him as more of a 20-25 goal guy on average.

    I think Shinkaruk will be a 60+ player in the NHL. He won’t a ‘star’, but will be a reliable scorer.