You can just imagine how Vancouver Canucks prospect Hunter Shinkaruk felt at last June’s NHL entry draft. He was a consensus first-round pick and the Calgary Flames his hometown team had two selections in the opening round No. 6 and No. 22. The Shinkaruk family were Flames season-ticket holders — “ever since I can remember” — and Hunter was playing junior down the highway in Medicine Hat. He was hardly hidden from the team’s view. But the Flames passed on Shinkaruk with both their picks opting instead for forwards Sean Monahan and Emile Poirier. Ouch. “For sure it was tough” said Shinkaruk who eventually went 24th overall to the Canucks. “They had two chances to take me and after they didn’t take me with that second pick I kind of sat back in my seat. That’s not to say that the player they took is not a great player. Obviously they just had a different look at who they needed.” Interestingly Poirier is listed as a left-winger the same position Shinkaruk plays. Poirier scored 47 goals for the Gatineau Olympiques his last two junior seasons while Shinkaruk netted 86 included 49 in 2011-12 alone. It still seemed to be eating up Shinkaruk on Thursday prior to the Canucks’ first outing at the Young Stars rookie tournament in Penticton. “Being a competitive kid I want to make sure the Flames wished they had taken me with that pick” he said. “It’s definitely going to be something that will drive me every time I play against them for sure. If I can get out there and make them pay for not taking me it would be pretty nice.” If Shinkaruk needed further motivation he was also passed over by the Edmonton Oilers (seventh) Winnipeg Jets (13th) and the San Jose Sharks (18th) the other three teams competing in the Young Stars tourney. That’s a fairly decent chip to carry on one’s young shoulders. Bitter? Who him? “When I was in the gym and on the ice this summer it was definitely something I was thinking about” he said. “I knew basically every team here had a chance to pick me. I’m going to make sure they’re going to pay for it.” That’s a lot of paying. From a Canucks standpoint what could be better? Shinkaruk hasn’t made the big club yet and probably won’t this year and he’s already miffed at three divisional rivals.
Canucks’ prospect Shinkaruk aims to make hometown Flames pay for passing on him twice in NHL draft
Vancouver Sun | Sep 7