The Canucks aren’t going to be too bold – not just yet – and that’s why neither Hunter Shinkaruk or Bo Horvat will start the year with the big club. On Monday, after Horvat was sent back to the OHL’s London Knights, Shinkaruk was shipped to Medicine Hat, even after the shifty teenager thrilled Canucks fans with moments of flash and brilliance in a full-time preseason workload.
But, there lies the reason – moments.
Shinkaruk no doubt could have contributed even more offensively if the offence was geared (even the slightest) around him, and you could make a similar case for Horvat (whose play got better and better and more dangerous in the opposing zone as the preseason wore on) or Brendan Gaunce, who was (also) sent back to the Belleville Bulls before the other two were demoted.
Still, keep something in mind as you drool over those highlights from two years ago (he was 16 then!) above: these kids are teenagers, and you’re not going to burn a year off their rookie contract unless you know you need them… right now.
Clearly, the Canucks feel confident without them. For now.