What the Calgary Wranglers gain from the Dryden Hunt trade
Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
23 days ago
The Calgary Flames picked up Dryden Hunt yesterday in exchange for Radim Zohorna in a Flames trade deadline deal. He has since been assigned to the Calgary Wranglers. Zohorna was high up there in playing time and opportunity, swapping between the top two lines. It can be tough losing someone like that in your lineup, but what are they getting in return?
First of all, they’re getting NHL experience. An interesting resume of it. This season in particular, Hunt has jumped around three other NHL teams including the New York Rangers, Colorado Avalanche and the Toronto Maple Leafs. He also has experience with the Arizona Coyotes and Florida Panthers.
Zohorna also had previous experience with the Pittsburgh Penguins and eight games with the Flames this year. However, Zohorna has only played a total of 33 NHL games while Hunt has played 202 NHL games over the course of his career. Zohorna struggled to find a more permanent spot with the Flames this year with no points in those handfuls of games.
While Hunt is with the Wranglers, he is in a position to not only help the team but also stand out on this team. Zohorna was a consistent player but he was overshadowed by Matthew Phillips, Connor Zary, Jeremie Poirier, Emilio Pettersen and Ben Jones, who are contributing at higher volumes. Zohorna could win faceoffs and keep up with his linemates but he wasn’t typically the blaring star of the night. He had a couple three point games back in November and December, but he typically averages just over a point every second game.
The Wranglers are also down two goal scorers. For good reasons, but Walker Duehr and Jakob Pelletier are continuing to earn their playing time with the Flames and both may be around to stay through the last 20 games of the NHL regular season. At least Pelletier appears to be with the top line playing time he is getting. These guys were sitting around the 15-16 goal mark and a goal here or there from guys like that would really help the Wranglers down this tougher stretch of games they are facing, losing four of their last five games.
The Wranglers have been placed at the top of the AHL for most of the season and have no reason not to make a strong run for the Calder Cup this year. The Stockton Heat almost went all the way last season, falling to the defending champions, the Chicago Wolves in the semi-finals. There are still quite a few guys from that roster kicking around and they’re going to want to go all the way this year. Especially with the best goaltender in the league.
While Zohorna would have been nice to keep around, Hunt’s production and experience bring another weapon to this team. Hunt has registered 76 goals and 83 assists in 229 games played in the AHL and another 15 goals and 28 assists in 202 NHL games. The company he would be surrounding himself with on this Wranglers roster gives him all the chances at success for the remainder of this season.
He is a fit position wise too. Hunt swaps between left wing and centre and while he replaces Zohorna who was a centre, there are other centremen like Connor Zary who have been playing the wing and can move around to accommodate this addition. I could see Hunt getting some time with Zary or Pettersen to start and eventually making his way up to some time with Phillips. Head coach Mitch Love does not shy away from shuffling the lines up so he’ll find a spot for him where he can be successful.
Hunt has played 15 games in the AHL this season with the Toronto Marlies who are actually just under the Wranglers in league standings at second. He was up to nine points in those 15 games. I do question why he has bounced around so much this season but on paper, he looks like he’ll help the Wranglers down the stretch for their impressive inaugural season.
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