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Dryden Hunt is emerging as very useful depth for the Calgary Flames

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
Russian theatrical legend Konstantin Stanislavski once famously remarked “there are no small parts, only small actors.” In the context of the many complexities of professional sports, on occasion players with seemingly small roles can have large impacts on the course of games.
And with that, let’s talk about Dryden Hunt, who’s quietly becoming a very useful, important depth player for the Calgary Flames.
A product of the Western Hockey League, Hunt played five seasons split between the Regina Pats, Medicine Hat Tigers and Moose Jaw Warriors. He went undrafted in 2014, his first year of eligibility, after scoring 40 points in 64 games with Regina. He split his next season between Regina and Medicine, posting 83 points in 71 games… and going undrafted again. His overage season saw him post 116 points in 72 games with Moose Jaw, and that was enough an entry-level NHL contract with the Florida Panthers.
He broke into the NHL in his second year of pro hockey, debuting with the Panthers on Nov. 10, 2017, starting a three year run where he bounced between the NHL and AHL. He then spent time with Arizona Coyotes, the New York Rangers, Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs before landing with the Flames at the 2023 NHL trade deadline in a trade for Radim Zohorna.
He finished out 2023-24 with the Calgary Wranglers and re-upped with the Flames, signing a two-year, two-way deal that pays him the league minimum $775,000 at the NHL level. He made the Flames roster out of training camp, but struggled to really find a niche on the team during a period where nothing was working for the club, resulting in his departure to the AHL after clearing waivers on Nov. 8.
He was summoned back to the NHL on Feb. 16, swapping spots with Cole Schwindt. He’s played four games for the Flames since returning, splitting time between Kevin Rooney’s wing and Yegor Sharangovich’s. His roles have varied depending on his deployments, but his versatility has remained.
His first point with the Flames was the game-winning goal on Saturday night against the Edmonton Oilers.
“I think because of his experience now of being a veteran player that’s been an up-and-down guy, I think he understands really well the type of role he needs to fit based on where he’s slotted in the lineup,” said Flames head coach Ryan Huska before Saturday’s game. “So if he sees himself on a lower line, per se, he knows how he has to play. If you bump him up for some lines, he still stays hard but he has the ability to make some plays with offensive players. I think because of his experience being in this role of being a guy that’s seen a little bit of time up and down, he has a good understanding of what’s required out of him.
Asked following the Flames’ 6-2 win over Edmonton about Hunt’s performance, Huska had a pretty upbeat assessment.
“I loved him,” said Huska. “I thought he was hard, scored a big goal for us, of course, and I thought he did a lot of things the right way.”
Hunt turned 28 in November. While he’s not old by hockey standards, he’s probably pretty close to being what he’s going to become at the NHL level after over 200 games. But given his experience, versatility and sneaky offensive skills – all at a bargain price – Hunt is practically the ideal depth forward for a Flames club that needs contributions from every part of their lineup if they want to remain in the playoff picture.
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