A lot of controversy erupted when the Flames chose Emil Poirier over hometown prospect Hunter Shinkaruk in the 2013 draft. But after watching the games at the US development camp, I think it became obvious why. Poirier is a more complete player with better size and speed.
But what about Morgan Klimchuk? What if the Flames would have taken Klimchuk ahead of Shinkaruk?
Klimchuk seems to be a bit of a forgotten piece of the first round for some Flames fans. Maybe because he was the third of the three picks, maybe because there was so much talk about the first two, or maybe because he was buried in Regina all year.
Klimchuk seems to be channeling the ghost of Rodney Dangerfield these days, being snubbed for an invite to the WJC as well. Especially considering his performance at the under 18 tourney where he won two gold medals and was second leading scorer, playing with Connor McDavid on the first line in his second appearance.
Morgan was generally ranked as a late first round to early second round pick, but some notables had Klimchuk ranked in the top twenty including Craig Button who had him at 18.
With such a deep draft in 2013 anyone rated in the top 20 has to be considered a top prospect. And I believe Klimchuk is.
Klimchuk has an even more complete game than Emile Poirier. He plays much bigger than his size, dishing out hard open ice body checks at times, playing tough along the boards, but also plays the point on the powerplay.
Klimchuk can literally score from anywhere. He can score with his wicked wrist shot from the high slot, the top of either faceoff circle or in close. He can score from either point on the PP with his slapshot. He can score in tight with his quick hands, and gets a lot of goals in the greasy areas. He navigates traffic exceptionally well and goes to the net hard.
He sees the ice well and can set up players as well as he can score. From sneaky back passes, to breaking passes, to goalmouth and cross-ice passes, he can do it all.
Morgan also kills penalties and can create shorthanded chances if he gets a chance to use his speed going the other way. Not as fast as Poirier, but still very fast.
And just to top it off he also has a couple of decent moves, but that is not really his game.
Klimchuk had 36 goals and 40 assists in 2012-13 for the Pats who were sorely lacking talent beyond leading scorer Lane Scheidl(80pts) and Klimchuk since losing Jordan Weal to the AHL. Klimchuk’s 76 points more than doubled from his first full season where he scored 18 goals and 18 assists on the second line.
In 2011-2012 Hunter Shinkaruk was on a similar path when his point totals more than doubled from his first year, but dipped slightly in his third year after Emerson Etam was lost to graduation. Shinkaruk still scored an impressive 86pts. Shinkaruk’s +/- took a beating as well in 2013 falling from plus-17 to minus-13.
Shinkaruk is more dynamic than Klimchuk, but is nowhere near as versatile or rugged.
This was only Klimchuk’s second full year of Junior and he just turned 18 in March, so his progress next year should go a long way to helping project where he might end up in his hockey career.
I embedded these videos, but although they show up in the preview, they do not show up in my post, so here are the links, with apologies.
Factoid: I have noticed there are problems posting replies to my blog. I checked it out and have determined that there is a syntax error that results from having too many (or not enough) apostrophes in the SQL statement. This error can be circumvented by not using apostrophes in your post. Eg..instead of using don’t, just post dont.
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