"Everything that I can do is all done now. It's just waiting until draft day. I'm really looking forward to this time but it's nice to get some down time." - Hunter Shinkaruk
CALGARY, AB -- Hunter Shinkaruk admits he can, for the first time in the better part of a year, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
At least temporarily, that is.
The Medicine Hat Tigers standout has nothing but some personal training lined up between now and the 2013 NHL Draft after a busy, up-and-down season for the Calgary product.
"I think that this whole year was a pretty busy year," said Shinkaruk, who had 37 goals and 86 points for the Tigers this season. "This is kind of the only time that really everything is out of my hands and I've done what I can do. I'm trying to enjoy these weeks that I have of downtime and just train and regroup. It's exciting.
"Everything that I can do is all done now. It's just waiting until draft day. I'm really looking forward to this time but it's nice to get some down time."
It's a temporary relief for the 18-year-old who is sixth in Central Scouting's final ranking for the draft. Shinkaruk will find himself front-and-centre on June 30th as one of the event's premier talents.
But the calm, collected Shinkaruk admitted his anxiety level may rise once the selection process gets underway in New Jersey.
"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," he 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."
The competitive Shinkaruk has studied his spot.
The 5-foot-10, 181-pound forward is well aware of where he's ranked and which teams he's a candidate to be drafted by.
He knows his potential suitors.
"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."
Anything can happen on the draft floor, which is why Shinkaruk is less worried about the process and more ready to take in the experience with his family.
"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," he said. "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."
Shinkaruk's last chance to relax before his hectic schedule picks up all over again.