Courtesy: The Province
Here at Canucks Army, we love three things more than anything in the
world: prospects, prospect rankings, and whining about prospect
rankings. Every summer we vote on and rank the top-20 Canucks prospects to
take stock of what’s in the system, and every summer we hear vocal
complaints from our readers they disagree with our rankings.
So this year, in our mid-term ranking, we gave you the chance to vote on prospects and
have a say on these players. Since our summer rankings, we’ve
simplified the definition of “prospect” to any player in the Vancouver
Canucks’ system that is eligible for the Calder Trophy if they were to
play in the NHL this year. This means that players like Linden Vey and
Joacim Eriksson who were not rated over the summer will be covered in
Without further ado, here is the 3rd rated Canucks Prospect
#3 Hunter Shinkaruk
2014 Summer Ranking: 2nd
Hunter Shinkaruk dropped one position so far this year likely due to his less than impressive box scores down in the AHL.
From a quick view, we can see that Shinkaruk has scored a mere 15 points (6 goals and 9 assists) in 46 games which translates to a 0.32 points/game rate, which isn’t exactly inspiring. He is currently 4th among all Canucks prospects on the Comets in scoring, behind Brendan Gaunce, Alex Grenier, and Nicklas Jensen. These are not very impressive statistics when looking at it from a shallow perspective. But when we dig deeper, we can see more positives.
We know that Hunter Shinkaruk is likely mainly receiving bottom-6 minutes for the Utica Comets, and currently has 94 shots in those games, translating to a rate over 2.0 shots/game. Given his low ice time, this tells us that his per-minute shot rate is probably very strong by Comets standards. Shinkaruk’s personal shooting percentage is also 6.4% – a number that is likely unsustainably low for one of his talent, given that higher end scorers such as Brandon DeFazio, Alex Grenier, and Nicklas Jensen are all scoring on over 10% of their shots.
Combine the above with the fact that Shinkaruk is among the youngest of all players in the AHL and he is coming off a serious hip injury that required surgery and caused him to miss nearly all of last season, and we can see how Shinkaruk’s production could be viewed as “disappointing.” However, this also indicates that there is good reason to believe that Shinkaruk’s boxcars should pick up going forward as he earns more ice time, continues to improve, and grows towards his prime. After all, most of his peers aren’t eligible to play in the AHL yet, nor did they spend a good chunk of their past year rehabbing rather than getting better.
It’s far too early for us to be overly concerned about Shinkaruk’s production in the AHL. This is still a player that compared favourably to guys like Corey Perry, Nazem Kadri, Tyler Toffoli, Sean Monahan, Dustin Brown, Shane Doan, Radim Vrbata, and Tyler Ennis as a 17-year old junior, and possesses top-end offensive tools. His development has unfortunately been stalled and that is showing this season, however he should be capable of getting back on track.
Shinkaruk likely needs to be given another year or two of AHL development before he’s ready to jump to the NHL. With Jake Virtanen nearly guaranteed to be given every chance at earning a position on the Canucks roster next season, Shinkaruk would have to really impress Jim Benning and Willie Desjardins out of training camp to get himself a spot. It is a tall order for Shinkaruk, but not impossible. After all, he realistically still has the highest ceiling of any Canucks prospect.
Stay tuned for part seven of this series, which will run on Tuesday and cover the 2nd best prospect in Vancouver’s system!
- Click here to read part 1
- Click here to read part 2
- Click here to read part 3
- Click here to read part 4
- Click here to read part 5
- Click here to read part 6