Canucks' top draft picks Bo Horvat, Hunter Shinkaruk thrilled to be signed
'It's awesome … It's another step closer to the NHL and now I have to go out and prove myself on the ice,' says product of Cory Schneider trade
Vancouver Canucks Bo Horvat heads up the ice during the Vancouver Prospects scrimmage at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on July 11, 2013.
Photograph by: Mark van Manen, PNG
VANCOUVER — Vancouver Canucks prospects Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk aren't twins. It only seems that way.
The two 18-year-old forwards were drafted the same day, in the same round and signed identical contracts that were announced Tuesday in the same news release. Is that enough sameness? Now if they can some day produce like real twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin, the Canucks may have something.
For now, it's a waiting game on the ice. Off the ice, the players have to wait no longer.
Both received the rookie maximum on their three-year deals. Each will make $925,000 at the NHL level, the figure comprised of a $92,500 signing bonus and $832,500 salary.
Horvat was selected ninth overall, the pick the Canucks acquired for goalie Cory Schneider, while Shinkaruk went 24th. Not surprisingly, they are both at Team Canada's world junior development camp, which began Sunday in Brossard, Que. The team is now in Lake Placid, N.Y., and will face the Finns in an exhibition game Wednesday.
“My hand was shaking a little bit when I signed the contract,” said a thrilled Shinkaruk. “It really doesn't even sink in what you're signing when you're doing it. It's probably going to take a little while for it to set in.
“It's a big accomplishment and you can't believe that it's happening. It's nice to have the team put that trust in you as a player. It's definitely exciting. It seems pretty surreal.”
Shinkaruk, from Calgary, actually signed his deal Sunday after arriving in Brossard. Horvat signed Saturday in his hometown of Rodney, Ont. Both players are represented by Newsport Sports, although Mark Guy works with Horvat and Craig Oster with Shinkaruk.
“It's awesome,” Horvat said. “You dream about this day when you're a little kid. To put pen to paper and make it official and get all signed up was really something special. It's another step closer to the NHL and now I have to go out and prove myself on the ice.”
It seems Horvat has rarely been off the ice, or at least away from the game. He went to the Memorial Cup with the London Knights in May and then continued on to the NHL scouting combine in Toronto. He was drafted June 30 in New Jersey, attended the Canucks' development camp in July and is now with Team Canada. In less than a month, both he and Shinkaruk will play in the YoungStars tournament that begins Sept. 5 in Penticton.
“It's been crazy,” noted Horvat, the Ontario League's playoff MVP in 2013. “It's definitely been the busiest summer ever. There's really no time for rest. It's pretty much been go-go-go but it's something I love to do and want to do for the rest of my life. So you have to go through this, right?
“It's a lot of hockey but I enjoy it and it doesn't bother me at all. I can't wait to start playing some games here in Lake Placid and, after that, to get to Penticton.”
The Canucks, needless to say, have a lot invested in their 2013 first-rounders. Daniel and Henrik turn 33 next month and Ryan Kesler will be 29 on Aug. 31. Horvat, a centre, and Shinkaruk, a winger, hold the keys to the future along with fellow first-rounders Brendan Gaunce and Nicklas Jensen.
“We're happy to have the two players done and we think they have bright futures,” said Canucks assistant GM Laurence Gilman. “We've typically signed our first-round draft choices early, in the summer immediately following their selections, because we want them to concentrate on playing hockey and take the contract situation out of their heads.”
Shinkaruk plays for the Western Hockey League's Medicine Hat Tigers and sports the same No. 9 that Trevor Linden wore during his days as a Tiger. The 5-10 forward is a natural scorer with 86 goals and 177 points his last two WHL seasons.
“I had a feeling that I was probably going to sign from talking to my agent but you never know until it happens and they announce it,” said Shinkaruk. “They faxed the contract to the hotel and then I had to get them to print it out. I signed it, they scanned it and sent it back. It was pretty exciting.”
Meanwhile, Gilman was less chatty about the contract talks with restricted free agent defenceman Chris Tanev.
“Discussions are ongoing,” he said succinctly.
ICE CHIPS: The Canucks also announced the signing of minor-league forward Darren Archibald, who tweeted: “Proud to be a part of the Vancouver Canucks organization for another year.” Archibald, a 23-year-old winger, had 22 points in 55 games last season with the AHL's Chicago Wolves. He'll likely play for the Utica Comets ... Gilman was in Utica Tuesday to check out the arena renovations and other aspects of the Canucks' new farm. The Comets expect to start the 2013-14 AHL season with a lengthy road trip to allow more time for the rink upgrades.
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