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2016-17 Player Preview: Hunter Shinkaruk

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

Throughout his career, Hunter Shinkaruk has piled on the points.

As a pre-teen, he tore up the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League as a member of the Calgary Royals Gold Bantam AAA squad. In two seasons, he managed 42 goals and 103 points in 60 regular season skates. In the AMBHL playoffs, Shinkaruk posted an eye-popping 13 goals and 26 points in 13 games.

Through his four years with the Medicine Hat Tigers in the Western Hockey League, the Calgary, AB native rattled off 105 goals and 235 points in 211 regular season games, averaging 1.11 points-per-game.

Shinkaruk was just as impressive in the WHL playoffs. The winger put up nine goals and 26 points in 30 WHL postseason appearances, averaging out to 0.87 points-per-game.

His production, predictably, slowed as he was he transitioning to the American Hockey League back in the 2014-15 campaign but the 5-foot-10, 181-pound forward still held his head above water in the early stages of his professional career.

Shinkaruk skated in 74 regular season contests with the Utica Comets in 2014-15, notching 16 goals and 31 points, and played in 23 playoff games, in which he scored two goals and six points.

He followed up his rookie season by scored 27 goals and 51 points in 62 games in 2015-16, split between the Comets and the Stockton Heat.

In total, he has played 136 regular season AHL games, amassing 43 goals and 82 points in that span. He has averaged 0.60 points-per-game and 1.99 shots-per-game.

Not too shabby.

Even more noteworthy, however, is Shinkaruk's stats with Stockton.

After being acquired from the Vancouver Canucks last February, the forward got into 17 games with Calgary's affiliate in Northern California. He ended up averaging 0.70 points-per-game thanks to his six goals and 12 points and he was shooting at a 2.24 shots-per-game pace in a Stockton sweater.

His strong play in the AHL earned Shinkaruk a late-season call-up with the Flames and he responded to the promotion by scoring a pair of goals and three points in his seven games in the NHL.

The Calgary coaching staff gave Shinkaruk a multitude of opportunities on the ice, allowing him to play alongside Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan at times and giving him shifts on the power play.

It was an eye-opening experience that has elevated Shinkaruk's confidence heading into the 2016-17 season.

"It was a pretty crazy year," the affable youngster recalled. "Obviously with the trade, that was really cool. It kind of came out of left field. I had no idea ... just the way the season ended, was pretty unbelievable.

"Just even walking around Calgary, being here all summer, having people come up and talk to you and congratulate you and even congratulate my family ... that's pretty cool.

"To get that taste of what it's like up here, it's been good. There's definitely a fire in my belly to be going all summer and make sure [this is] where I'm playing next year."

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