I'm sure you're preparing yourself for a flurry of action this week. The Flames already acquired one prospect this week in their quest to rebuild a playoff team, and are zeroing in on another. Darren Dreger announced today that five teams were in contention for the signature of left winger Dryden Hunt, the WHL's leading scorer, and specifically name dropped the Flames.
Count the Calgary Flames among the 5 NHL teams with interest in signing Dryden Hunt to an entry level deal.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 24, 2016
Hunt has been lighting up the red lamp with frequency this year. As of this writing, he has 49 goals (including four hat-tricks in five games) and 50 assists in 61 games. For perspective, he had 97 points in 165 games with the Regina Pats before being traded.
As one of the older players in the league, born about one month after the cut off date, Hunt failed to attract scouts' attention for a lackluster draft year. He received training camp invites from the Hurricanes and the Canadiens, but failed to stick around. Now that he's the Dub's top scorer, he's attracting serious attention.
Overaged players, generally speaking, are expected to put up production in their final CHL years. They're bigger, faster, stronger, and more experienced than those just entering the league, and as a result, see more ice time and more points. This sends red flags flying during draft time, but as a free agent, there's no risk involved. Considering the prospect pool of the Flames, they should almost certainly be in on this guy
So how could he fit in with the Flames? With Markus Granlund gone, Sam Bennett will presumably move back to centre full time, leaving the Flames with not a whole lot of options for wingers beside Michael Frolik and Johnny Gaudreau. Players like Freddie Hamilton, Derek Grant, Kenny Agostino, and Emile Poirier, among others, could be competing for NHL spots next year, leaving the Stockton Heat with not a lot to work with. Hunt probably isn't NHL ready yet (it would be wonderful if he was, but thinking realistically here), so he'll be asked to be a key player for the Heat.
While he won't make an impact immediately, his future is certainly promising. Using tools at The Projection Project, we found a list of players who are similar, both physically and production-wise, to Hunt.
Parameters: height between 71 and 73 inches, weight between 195 to 205 lbs, and NHLe between 35-37 in the draft +2 year.
Just a quick explainer: this list is not telling you which players he plays like, or which career trajectory he will follow ("He's either a Phil Kessel or Logan Couture type of player, or an ECHLer" is not a useful projection). This list, based on the inputs, shows you a list of players with similar inputs. The more players who have played 100 or greater NHL games, the better. In Hunt's case, only three players on this list didn't make it to the century mark. That bodes well.
So when can we expect a decision?
At least 5 NHL clubs interested in signing 20 yr old Moose Jaw Warriors forward, Dryden Hunt. Decision as early as next wk. @huntsy22— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 24, 2016
Oh. In that case, we'll have an update for you early next week (or potentially later).