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X's and O's - 2013 NHL Draft

Tuesday, 02.07.2013 / 11:56 AM / Features
By Jeff Angus
What a day Sunday turned out to be for the Vancouver organization.

The Canucks traded away their one-time goaltender of the future Cory Schneider in exchange for the ninth overall draft selection, which they used on OHL forward Bo Horvat.

Horvat is a strong two-way player with a lot of offensive upside. He has been hailed as a future captain as well. And with the 24th overall selection, Vancouver quickly snatched up sniper Hunter Shinkaruk from the Medicine Hat Tigers. Shinkaruk was pegged by many scouts and pundits as a top 10 or 15 pick on draft day. Why he fell is anybody’s guess, but the Canucks will thank their lucky stars that they were able to land two elite forward prospects on Sunday.

Without going into too much detail on the prospects themselves (Canucks.com prospect writer Tyson Guiriato does a fantastic job in this regard), let’s break down the draft day process for both Horvat and Shinkaruk.

Laurence Gilman was at the podium to make the selection. And from the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League… Bo Horvat. Croatian in origin (thanks, Google); Horvat is the most frequent surname in Croatia. I’m not sure how many Bo’s there are over there, though.

Pierre McGuire is known to be a tad enthusiastic and optimistic when it comes to prospects, and he was quite quickly gushing over Vancouver’s selection. “I know one team had him as high as four,” McGuire went on to say. NHL teams often have very different draft lists than the ones we see from TSN and Central Scouting. Wherever the Canucks had Horvat ranked, it was their highest draft selection since taking the Sedins way back in 1999.

Horvat gets congratulated by his parents. The best part of this video may be the extremely excited fan/dancer/entertainer in the background. Jersey Shore may not be on the air any more, but it still lives within all of us.

Horvat goes with the classic black tie and white shirt combination. Understated yet professional – the lack of a pocket square flies in the face of modern day athlete/analyst attire, though. Ray Ferraro chimes in and compares Horvat to Colorado center Ryan O’Reilly. Horvat has also been likened to Mike Richards.

Without getting too “scouty” (a term I use when people refer to players as “big bodies” or when they discuss “compete levels” and “engines that never stop”), it is obvious that Horvat is physically ready for the NHL game. He’s not a prospect that needs to put on a ton of muscle at this point. And since we all love comparisons, Bob McKenzie offers one more – Patrice Bergeron. I’m not sure how many centers there are in hockey that are as impactful as Bergeron when all of the chips are on the table… Vancouver would love to have a Bergeron on their roster.

Blue and green looks good on him. And according to Pierre, Horvat isn’t only a can’t miss prospect, but he is also the Real McCoy. For a guy with the name Bo (and last name Horvat), it sure won’t be hard to come up with a catchy nickname.

And the advertisement campaign is already taken care of:

The Real McCoy is already 210 pounds and a little over six feet tall. His compete level is five out of five – that must be good, right?

Unsurprisingly, the rest of the interview turns into ‘Schneidongo’ talk between James Duthie and Mike Gillis. With Horvat and Brendan Gaunce in the system, the Canucks are looking a lot bigger and stronger up the middle for the foreseeable future.

I don’t pretend to know everything (or even anything) about all of the top prospects each year. However, I do get to catch quite a bit of the WHL, and I have seen Hunter Shinkaruk play live – not something I can say about any non-WHL prospects from this year’s draft class.

Sticking with the theme of optimistic player comparables, Shinkaruk’s game can be best described as a hybrid between Zach Parise and Patrick Kane. Now before you go carving that statue outside of Rogers Arena for him, let me explain. He’s not as skilled as Kane, nor is he has tenacious as Parise. But he combines both of those elements. He’s not big, but he plays big. He’s a great skater, possesses phenomenal hands, and is an elite finisher around the net.

I was hoping that the Canucks would grab a WHL guy this year with their 24th pick, but I wasn’t expecting Shinkaruk to still be around.

We quickly find out that Shinkaruk’s dad is a dentist. Hockey players and dentists go together like peanut butter and jam, so Hunter definitely picked the right proifession.

The second highlight they show of Shinkaruk is an extremely Parise-like play – dogged work on the forecheck to strip the opposition of the puck to create a scoring chance. Shinkaruk wasn’t on a very good team this past year, and while his production dropped off a bit, his overall game improved significantly.

If Shinkaruk’s hands get a four out of five, I’d hate to see where TSN would rank Steve Bernier’s? Absolute zero?

The Shinkaruk’s. “We grew up in Calgary, but he all cheered for different teams.” Way to handle the tough questions like a champ, Hunter. Already learning that Calgary is the enemy.

All in all, Sunday was quite the day for the Canucks. They added two quality prospects. Don’t be surprised to see at least one of them wearing the green and blue this October.