Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Daemon Hunt.
Drafted 15th overall in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft, defenceman Daemon Hunt scored seven goals and 20 points as a WHL rookie. Hunt played for Team Canada Black at the 2018 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. In five tournament games, he scored two assists. He also made it onto Team Canada as an underage player at last year’s IIHF Under-18 World Championships putting up one assist in seven games. He also played in this summer’s Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, helping Team Canada to a silver medal.
Named an alternate captain for the Moose Jaw Warriors prior to the season, Hunt’s draft year did not go as he would have hoped. In early December, a freak accident in a game against the Edmonton Oil Kings saw Hunt get hit in the arm by a skate, leaving a deep laceration. He missed three months of action. When Hunt finally returned, he played just a handful of games before the season was cancelled. The lack of time on the ice this year has likely caused Hunt to fall down draft rankings. Overall he put up 15 assists in 28 games for the rebuilding Warriors, including four points in the five games after his return.
Daemon Hunt Scouting Report
Defense — shoots Left
Born May 15th, 2002 — Brandon, Manitoba
Height 6’0″ — Weight 194 lbs [183 cm/88 kg]
Hunt is a good skater, with strong edgework and agility and this helps him to play a two-way game. He is able to change directions easily and moves well laterally. Hunt also has smooth, tight pivots that allow him to transition quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa. His speed is very good in both directions. A strong first step and very good acceleration allow Hunt to reach that speed. This allows him to cover a lot of ice. He can join the rush, or pinch at the blue line and still get back defensively. Hunt is solid on his skates, with good balance. He can fight through checks and battle for loose pucks in the corners and clear the front of the net. Hunt can still add muscle to his frame and get even better.
Hunt can carry the puck out of his zone and start the transition game. He is able to retrieve dump-ins and loose pucks and avoid forecheckers and get the puck up the ice. He is also able to carry the puck through the neutral zone. Hunt is a good passer who can create offence in transition with a good first pass or by quarterbacking the play at the blue line. He is willing to join the rush as a trailer as well. Hunt makes smart passes at the line. He can open up passing lanes with a quick move with his stick, or by taking advantage of his lateral movement.
Hunt may not have scored a goal this year, but he is dangerous from the point. He has a decent slap shot and one-timer. He gets it through traffic and keeps it low and on the net. Hunt walks the line in order to find shooting lanes. He also keeps his shot low, allowing his teammates to get deflections, to set up screens, and to pounce on rebounds. Hunt likes to use his wrist shot as well. He sneaks in from the point and lets it go from the top of the circles. It is accurate and has a quick release.
He has a very good hockey IQ, reading the play and putting himself in the right position to cut down passing lanes and force shooters to bad positions on the outside. Hunt uses his strong backwards skating and good gap control to defend against attackers in one-on-one situations. He also makes good use of his stick in taking the puck away from opponents and cutting down passing lanes. Hunt is willing to engage physically, battling well along the boards and in front of the net. He also uses his body to contain opponents on the cycle. However, he doesn’t throw a lot of big hits or go out of his way looking for him. Instead, he stays disciplined and committed to his position.
Projection and Comparison
Hunt had some trouble early in the year as he went from a third pair defenceman and adjusted to taking big minutes on the Warriors blueline. However, he was adjusting well and playing better hockey through November when the injury took him out. He also played well on his return. The question mark is that he has a very small sample size as a top player on his team as the Warriors had Jett Woo and Josh Brook ahead of him in 2018-19. If he had played the whole season, it would be easier to judge his value, but his injury and the COVID-19 pandemic have conspired against it. Hunt is a bit of a wildcard but a potential steal in this draft. His game is reminiscent of Ryan Suter but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Daemon Hunt that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Daemon Hunt Main Photo:
CALGARY, AB – DECEMBER 2: Daemon Hunt #10 of the Moose Jaw Warriors in action against the Calgary Hitmen during a WHL game at the Scotiabank Saddledome on December 2, 2018, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)