Just three months ago, they were two nervous 18-year-old kids sitting in the stands at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., wondering when their names would get called at the NHL draft.
On Friday afternoon at Rogers Arena, Hunter Shinkaruk and Bo Horvat had other thoughts racing through their heads.
As hard as each is trying not to look too far ahead, they can’t help but wonder if they could possibly be in the lineup next Thursday night in San Jose when the Vancouver Canucks open their National Hockey League regular season.
Chances are, one of them will be.
Barring a trade or waiver wire pickup, there appears to be an open spot -- albeit likely only a temporary one given Zack Kassian’s five-game suspension -- for a forward on opening night. Either Shinkaruk or Horvat figures to get it.
In Friday’s practice, Shinkaruk skated on the third line with Mike Santorelli and David Booth. Horvat centered the fourth line with...