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Top 25 under 25: Daemon Hunt pops up at 14

With nothing more to prove in the WHL, can Hunt impress at camp?

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Moose Jaw Warriors v Calgary Hitmen Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

The trend of the Minnesota Wild’s late picks showing plenty of promise continues.

Daemon Hunt is coming off of a strange season — stop me if you’ve heard that before — where he played in the WHL, the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and the AHL. He was productive across all three leagues, even potting his first professional goal in his six-game stint with Iowa Wild. While it was his lone point in that small showing, the smooth-skating defenseman shows that he can be productive and reliable.

A skate injury harmed hunt’s draft stock in his draft year. That may have been bad for his draft position, but it was undoubtedly beneficial for the Wild. They couldn’t pass up the chance to grab a player in the third round that scouts touted as “a tremendous defender because of his skating and physicality.”

The Stats

In his draft year, the largest criticism lobbied against Hunt was his ability to generate offense, a concern reflected in his zero goals and 15 assists in 28 games in his injury-shortened draft year. He bounced back in his return to the WHL, showing an ability to generate scoring chances from the point with his shot and greatly improving to eight goals in 28 games.

It will be interesting to see his offensive production if given better quality teammates.

Roll the Tape

Hunt is a smart-skater, who doesn’t have mind-bending speed, but instead uses his edges and pivots to play his game. At 6’ 1”, he’ll never tower over his opponents, but he is extremely competitive and doesn’t shy away from battles in front of the net or the corners.

His newfound commitment to generate opportunities with his shot shows that his game can grow if given the opportunity. While that was his only goal in the AHL last season, the offense translated to the WHL when he rejoined the Moose Jaw Warriors.

Just keep pumping that puck, young man.

The Future

Daemon is going to be one of the key blueliners to watch this year. He’s missed a ton of hockey over the last few years, and how his game develops is going to predict what his ceiling can be. He already has strong defensive skills, buoyed by his skating ability. Hunt could become a rugged fixture on the blueline if his offense continues on its current trajectory.

Hockey Wilderness 2021 Top 25 Under 25

25) Simon Johansson, D

24) Caedan Bankier, C

23) Kyle Masters, D

22) Damien Giroux, C

21) Ivan Lodnia, RW

20) Hunter Jones, G

19) Nikita Nesterenko, C

18) Alexander Khovanov, C

17) Mason Shaw, C

16) Jack McBain, C

15) Jack Peart, C

14) Daemon Hunt, D