LW Dryden Hunt - Medicine Hat Tigers, WHL (2014 undrafted)
A big-bodied forward who is eligible for his 2nd NHL Draft in 2015 and will surely have his name called.
Notes: Hunt is a kid who has done nothing but grow and improve since finally getting healthy after dealing with some concussion issues earlier in his junior career. He came in at 30th on my list last year after a great second half to the year and I think he’s worth a strong look again this season. He is a hard worker, is a strong skater with power and good edgework, has great offensive instincts and owns a fantastic shot.
We go from one “overager” in Helewka to another in Dryden Hunt who is tied with Jesse Gabrielle as the shortest player on this list at 6’0. But, despite being only 6’0, he’s built like a fire hydrant as he is thick and powerful. While his top speed is pretty decent for a player of his mass, his footwork and acceleration both could still use some cleaning up. His size and strength definitely help him excel in other areas of the game as he is tough to play against along the walls and in the corners and regularly throws powerful hits. He has the ability to both handle and execute tough passes, giving him a nice complement to his best asset which is his shot. Hunt absolutely rips the puck, including having an extremely dangerous one-timer. His well-rounded and impressive skillset has translated into 28 goals split between Regina and Medicine Hat this year, chalking up an additional 46 assists for 74 points in 59 games. Hunt is my highest-ranked overager for the 2015 NHL Draft as he currently sits well inside my top 20 among all WHL players. I know there is some decent buzz around him among NHL scouts and I would think it’s fairly safe to assume he might come off the board somewhere in the area of the 4th round.
Was a bit surprised that he wasn't drafted last season. I could see a team reaching up into the 3rd for him, kids who have the size to survive the NHL, can skate and have as good a shot as his will get a chance.
I like Hunt, he's got that blue collar work ethic with a bit of skill to match. And I agree with everything here, skatings not great but it's not bad either. He plays some hard minutes too which I'm a fan of. I liked him better in Regina than MH though. I think that trade's going to hurt him.
What scares me about him and the Tiger kids in particular, is there are 4 undrafted 95's that could and probably should garner a bit of attention. I feel like Dug from the movie "Up" (the dog that gets distracted easily) when I watch this team because there's too much to watch. Squirrel! Sanford! Cox! Squirrel! Eisenschmid! Hunt! There's never just one guy you remember. At least Clouston had the decency of spreading them out a bit.
Team: Medicine Hat Tigers
Player Analysis: Dryden Hunt is a strong and thick goal scorer for the Medicine Hat Tigers…enters the draft as my highest-ranked “overage” player from the WHL as he was first eligible in 2014, going undrafted…has plenty of power in his skating stride…speed is quite good once he gets going but acceleration and footwork is a tad clumsy, especially early in his stride…his toes point out as he strides, especially when accelerating…cleaning up his footwork in those situations should give him more speed and overall mobility in all directions…has the ability to handle the puck and make plays at top speed once he gets there…owns an absolute bomb of a shot…for my money he has the best shooting ability of any draft-eligible player from the WHL…owns an impressive one-timer…can one-time a puck hard and accurately regardless of how much time he’s given to set up for the shot…have seen him receive tough passes, handle them easily and wire them for goals in the blink of an eye…wrist shot is both fast and accurate with a sharp release…gets into good shooting position both in his offensive zone spacing and mechanics…can both give and receive a pass well…hands are strong, yet soft…owns good hand-eye co-ordination and have seen him handle some tricky passes, including while skating through the neutral zone…is a big body that is tough to knock off the puck…uses his arms and lower body well to protect the puck along the walls or while exiting the defensive zone…well-rounded offensive skillset allows him to contribute both on the cycle and off the rush…isn’t afraid to throw some big hits and regular finishes his checks…isn’t an amazing defensive player but he shows good awareness and maturity away from the puck…was counted on to kill penalties this season along with being an obvious regular with the man-advantage…is listed as a centre but I’m not sure I have seen him in the middle of the ice at all this year, playing the wing instead…was first eligible to be drafted last year as a late-1995 but didn’t, despite a solid second half and postseason while with Regina…suffered from concussion issues earlier in his career, limiting him to two games during the 2012-13 season…was never drafted into the WHL but was rather listed by Kootenay and eventually traded to Regina…the Pats dealt him to Medicine Hat mid-way through this season…attended prospect camp with the Carolina Hurricanes earlier in his career…overall, at his peak I think Hunt projects as a top 9 winger at the NHL level due to his “heavy” style of play and elite-level shot…I expect that he will come off the draft board in either the late 4th or 5th round but I would say that I like him more than that, valuing him as roughly mid-4th round type of player…