In 2008 the Buffalo Sabres spent a first round pick on a offensively gifted center from the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL. Tyler Ennis, taken 26th overall, has turned into a nice player for Darcy Regier. If the Sabres look to the Tigers this year at #8, it'll be for Hunter Shinkaruk.
Our Hockey Prospect Watch next takes us a little further down the draft board with a stop at the 5th ranked North American skater, Hunter Shinkaruk ( 5'10" 181 lbs). An offensively gifted center, Shinkaruk is a player that's most often lauded for his effort. In short, he always tries.
That may seem like something that you'd get from all young players, but we know that's not the case. Shinkaruk's effort is unmatched. After hearing Owner Terry Pegula rave about Zemgus Girgensons prowess in this department, it's reasonable to think the Sabres will want more players like him.
On work ethic, Shinkaruk is all aces.
On talent? Here's what the experts are saying about the Calgary native:
HockeyProspectus.com's Corey Pronman - He deserves a top 10 ranking, as he possesses an immense amount of unique offensive talent. He moves effortlessly as a skater, showing the ability to gain power from each stride. That allows him to divert more energy to playmaking. His agility makes him tough to check in open ice. He turns his hips a lot, and his wide skating stance makes it difficult to predict where he will move. That said, his speed only ranks as good, not top end. Shinkaruk has rapid hands, and he can be very dangerous due to his creativity and coordination.
Eliteprospects.com - A speedy, offense-first winger, Shinkaruk has silky smooth hands and sees the ice really well. He is also a hard worker who always gives 100% on the ice and plays with a lot of enthusiasm.
Hunter Shinkaruk projects as a 2nd or 3rd line winger, with some thinking there's potential for top line duty. He's a bit undersized and, like many young kids, scouts are hoping that he can add some bulk to his frame.
You'll see him pegged to go Top 10. You'll see teams that are hoping he slides down into the mid-20s.
Size might scare some away. Size of the fight in the player would draw them back in.