Poised Shinkaruk ready for draft day

Aaron Vickers2013 Draft Center, Features

Medicine Hat Tigers captain Hunter Shinkaruk has been in many a pressure-packed situation without breaking a sweat.

The 2013 NHL Draft might not be one of them.

A potential top-10 pick on draft day, the even-keeled Shinkaruk isn’t entirely sure how he — or his dad — are going to keep cool.

“I think that obviously for the first maybe seven picks of the draft or the first five, I’ll be a little bit more relaxed because you kind of know the players that are going there,” Shinkaruk said. “Once you get seven or down, it’ll be a little bit nerve-wracking and I’m sure if you zoom in on me and my dad’s foreheads, they’ll probably be a little sweaty.

“I think we’ll try to be relaxed but just being a person and a competitive kid, you want to go as high as you can.”

That competitiveness has led Shinkaruk to do some draft homework.

The 18-year-old, ninth in Future Considerations’ final ranking for the 2013 draft, has already tried to identify which teams could be his potential destination on draft day.

He isn’t making it a secret, either.

“I think every kid in the draft kind of looks at what range they’re going to go and to what teams,” Shinkaruk said. “I’m trying not to think about it too much but its definitely in the back of my mind. There are teams that I feel I might go to but at the end of the day, anything can change.

“On draft day, there are trades and a lot of things that can go different.”

But Shinkaruk has left teams potentially targeting him with a strong impression.

He expanded his leadership role in Medicine Hat and put up 37 goals and 86 points in just 64 games this season. He played in the Canada/Russia Subway Super Series and was invited to Canada’s selection camp for the 2013 World Junior Championship in December.

All in all, a satisfying season for Shinkaruk.

“I think it was a great year,” he said. “Coming into the year and being named captain was something that was pretty special to me. I want to be a good leader for my team and a good kid off the ice. For my team to see that in me was pretty neat and just to help my team, we had a great playoffs against Saskatoon.

“There’s ups and downs in every season but I thought I matured a lot as a kid and as a player.”

With his season wrapped, combine in the rearview and nothing to do but wait for his name to be called on June 30th, Shinkaruk is just trying to relax before the beads of sweat hit his forehead.

“I’m really excited for it,” he said. “I’m trying not to think about it too much. I know I’m just trying to enjoy this time and enjoy all the things that come along with being drafted — the interviews and everything. It really is only an experience you’re going to get to live once. I’m just trying to take this all in but definitely in the back of my mind when I wake up, it’s getting one day closer every time.

“I’m definitely looking forward to this.”