Leading up to the 2013 NHL Entry Draft in New Jersey, we’ll be profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Sunday in the first round. Nothing too in-depth. Just enough so you know who they are and what they’re about.
Hunter Shinkaruk (LW/C)
Height: 5’10 Weight: 181 Shoots: Left
Team: Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 6 among North American skaters
What kind of player is he?
Shinkaruk is a great offensive talent, capable of creating chances and finding the back of the net. After recording 49 goals and 91 points while playing with Ducks prospect Emerson Etem in 2011-12, but Shinkaruk didn’t have the luxury of being on the same team as Etem last season. All the same, Shinkaruk scored 37 goals and 86 points in 64 contests to show that who he’s playing with isn’t the biggest factor in his success.
That being said, Shinkaruk’s size is an area of concern and he’ll need to work on his defensive game. In other words, he’s a bit more of a long-term project, but one that could end with him serving as a top-six forward.
He loves the game of hockey, loves to practice and play games, loves to score goals and loves to win. I’ve been around with the Tigers for a long time, and have seen a lot of great players move on to the next level like the Kris Russells, the Tyler Ennis’, the Darren Helms and the Clarke MacArthurs, and they all have that determination, that belief that they will make it to the NHL, and that’s what Hunter has in him.” — Tigers GM and coach Shaun Clouston (as per WHL.ca)
For more 2013 NHL Draft Previews, click here.
Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.
Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.
“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.
The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.
Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.
There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.
The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.
That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.
In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.
Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.