Hunter Shinkaruk

Canucks send ’13 first-rounder Shinkaruk back to junior

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Vancouver has now officially sent both of its 2013 first-round draft picks back to their respective junior clubs, returning Hunter Shinkaruk to WHL Medicine Hat on Monday — one day after dispatching Bo Horvat to OHL London.

Horvat, the ninth overall selection (acquired in the Cory Schneider trade) was the more ballyhooed prospect heading into training camp, but it was Shinkaruk (24th overall) that lasted longer and arguably made the bigger impression.

Head coach John Tortorella said he really liked Shinkaruk’s camp, adding the 18-year-old was “trying like hell” to make the team.

The moves mean none of Vancouver’s last four first-round picks — Horvat, Shinkaruk, Nicklas Jensen and Brendan Gaunce — are still with the team. It’s unclear what Vancouver plans to do with Zac Dalpe and Jeremy Welsh (acquired yesterday from Carolina) or Ryan Stanton, claimed off waivers from Chicago on Monday morning.

Related: Hurricanes and Canucks swap prospects and a pick

Canucks send first-round pick Horvat back to junior

Bo Horvat, Jason Demers, Pascal Pelletier
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One of Vancouver’s two first-round picks from the 2013 draft will be sticking with the team, but it may not be the one you’re expecting.

The London Knights announced that ninth overall section Bo Horvat was re-assigned to their team by the Canucks. Horvat was not at today’s practice in Vancouver leading to speculation he was headed back. 26th overall pick Hunter Shinkaruk will be sticking around.

While the two players were both thought to be staying in Vancouver as recently as yesterday, plans may have changed for the Canucks after acquiring Zac Dalpe from the Carolina Hurricanes late last night.

According to Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun, Canucks GM Mike Gillis views Dalpe as a guy who can play at center, the same position Horvat plays. Shinkaruk, meanwhile, will at least get a nine-game peek to see what he can do. As a winger, there’s more flexibility to fit him into the lineup.

Lightning send 2013 first-rounder Drouin back to junior

Jonathan Drouin, Kris Versteeg
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Tampa Bay’s 2013 first-round pick won’t be winning the Calder Trophy this year.

The Lightning announced they’re sending third overall pick Jonathan Drouin back to his junior team in Halifax. Just yesterday we shared here how GM Steve Yzerman had a difficult decision on whether to keep their hot prospect or send him back. Clearly the team feels it’s better for his development to head back to the QMJHL.

Some fans may get critical of the move, but it’s one that can work out and the Lightning just need to look across the state for a prime example of that.

Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau didn’t join the Panthers immediately after being drafted in 2011, but he turned his first NHL season last year into a Calder Trophy-winning one. Lightning fans may want to see just what they got for such a bad season last year but they’ll have to be patient.

As for Drouin, the rest of the QMJHL should be terrified to see him back after the numbers he put up last season (41-64-105) in 49 games.

Stars send ’12 first-rounder Faksa back to juniors

Radek Faksa

The Dallas Stars confirmed what they said over the summer and won’t rush 2012 first-round pick Radek Faksa to the NHL.

The team announced they’re sending the 19-year-old Czech back to the OHL Kitchener Rangers. Faksa was taken 13th overall in last year’s draft and they’re hoping he’ll be one of their top centers soon.

Last season with Kitchener, Faksa had his season hampered by a MCL strain. He played in just 39 games scoring nine goals with 22 assists. In the OHL playoffs, he had four goals and two assists in 10 games. Two years ago, his first in the OHL, he had 67 points in 62 games leading to his lofty position in the draft.

Columbus sends ’13 first-rounder Rychel back to junior

KerbyRychel
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After just two preseason games, Kerby Rychel is headed back to the OHL.

Rychel, Columbus’ first-round pick (19th overall) at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, has been sent back to his junior team in Windsor after a week-long stay at Jackets training camp.

The 18-year-old forward probably saw the writing on the wall when he played just over five minutes in Wednesday’s 5-4 win over Carolina. While a solid prospect, Rychel needs to grow and put size on his 6-foot, 185-pound frame in order to play consistently at the NHL level.

Rychel was the only player Columbus sent back to junior today, dispatching 17 others to AHL Springfield.