Though by no means intentional, Medicine Hat Tigers standout Hunter Shinkaruk can cast a long shadow.
Teammate Jayden Hart isn’t about to get left in the dark.
One of the top prospects the Western Hockey League has to offer the 2013 NHL Draft, Shinkaruk has regularly packed the stands with scouts for the second straight year. While they’re coming for one of the draft’s most explosive players, talent evaluators are keeping a very close eye on Hart’s development trajectory.
Even still, Hart isn’t willing to look too hard into the Shinkaruk rub.
“I don’t really look too much into that,” Hart said. “Hunter is a good player. It’s going to be to my advantage too. It’ll help me for sure. You get more exposure.”
Future Considerations scout Zenon Herasymiuk is of the belief Hart is worth the price of admission.
“Hart’s unique, two-way package is well worthy of attention from scouts,” he said.
Unfortunately, Hart hasn’t been able to take full advantage of the scouting attention Shinaruk has been able to draw to Medicine Hat. A litter of injuries has limited the Spruce Grove, AB product to just 11 of the Tigers 27 games this season.
“It’s pretty tough mentally,” said Hart, who hasn’t played since November 2nd. “I can’t wait to get back out there and get playing again.
When he has taken to the ice, Hart has made the most of his opportunities. The six-foot-one, 188-pound centre has four goals and seven points in 11 games this season. If the Spruce Grove, AB product is able to string together more games, it’s only a matter of time before scouts start coming for Hart.
“If he can bounce back from his injury troubles it wont be long before Hart starts garnering his own attention,” Herasymiuk said.
Which means if Hart can find health, Shinkaruk won’t be the only one grabbing some spotlight in Medicine Hat.
Do you feel that adds pressure to perform when you do get back on the ice given you’ve had less outings than other players?
Maybe a little bit more pressure but I’m just excited to get back into the lineup and start contributing to the team and get going.
How much did getting that rookie season under your belt help prepare you for this year, your draft year?
It’s pretty good. It was tough at the beginning of the year because I wasn’t playing too much. As time went on I got better.
How much has coach Shaun Clouston helped with your development?
He’s helped a lot. He’s really molded my defensive game and made me into a two-way forward.
What do you feel your strengths are out there?
I’m a big body, hard to handle out there?
What aspects of your game are you looking to improve in?
Just get bigger, faster and stronger out there.
With files from Zenon Herasymiuk