Brad Hunt is the next Mark Arcobello. Or not. Undrafted and discovered in the AHL by Craig MacTavish (who was coaching him at the time), Hunt delivers impact offense from the AHL blue line. Can he do something similar at the highest level?
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Brad Hunt wears #29 for the Oklahoma City Barons. He’s an undersized pro defenseman (5.09, 174 according to the AHL site, 5.09, 188 according to the Hockey News) with good puck moving skills. His AHL boxcars imply a successful offensive defenseman and Jonathan Willis suggested as much in the summer.
- Willis: What Hunt obviously brings to the organization is offence from the blue line. Two years ago, his coach at Bemidji State said he had an NHL caliber slap shot. In 2013, the hockey world received hard evidence of that as Hunt had the second-hardest shot (99.5 miles per hour) at the AHL All-Star game. His best chance at NHL employment might be as a power play specialist – 15 of his 33 points last seasoncame with the man advantage despite the fact that he didn’t get a lot of games right out of the NHL lockout.
- Will he actually play? Hunt made it to the NHL last season, played in three games. I think there’s a chance Edmonton calls again.
- Can he play defense? It won’t be his strong suit, but Edmonton has several veterans who could mentor him.
- Why does he have to be lefthanded? That’s all there is, apparently.
- Is his offense that good? His slap shot is going to find its way to the NHL I think, we’ll see from there.
- Which current Oiler defenseman most closely matches his skill set? Hmmm. None. Think Phil Larsen with most of Sheldon Souray’s slap shot.
(photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved)