Regina, Saskatchewan – Regina Pats forward Dryden Hunt moved one step closer to realizing his dream of reaching the NHL today. The 18-year old forward jumped onto the Central Scouting Service’s final rankings for the 2014 NHL Draft.
"Not being on it all year, and then finally at the end of the year with the last rankings I'm on it... feels pretty good," said Hunt. "Obviously there are some special players on that list so to be on that list it's pretty cool.
After not being on the list for the two prior ranking sets released, Hunt comes in at 144th among North American Skaters. Though the rankings are theoretical and don’t truly affect the draft, it does mean the Nelson, B.C. native turned heads with his play this season.
|Photo Credit: Keith Hershmiller/Regina Pats|
"Being on that list doesn't guarantee you anything so obviously there's a lot more hard work. I haven't talked to a whole lot of teams, but I guess I'm on the list so I have as good a chance as anyone else so we'll see."
After a slow start that saw Hunt with only three points (3A) in his first 18 games of the season, he exploded on the Pats’ U.S. Division road trip in November with four goals and one assist in five games and never looked back. Hunt finished the year with forty points (21G, 19A) in 62 games played. He continued to produce in the playoffs, notching four goals and adding an assist in four games.
"I struggled the first half, it took me a while to get my first goal. Obviously my second half, personally, was pretty good and I guess it kind of paid off."
Heading into his 19-year old season with the Pats, Hunt knows there are areas of his game that can be improved to help his chances of reaching the NHL and to help his junior club in 2014-15.
"You can never be a good enough skater for sure, I can work on my quick feet. My cardio could be a little better. As the season went on I think I fell a little bit off the wagon working out-wise. I started off not playing that much and as the year went on I started playing more and more so for sure during the off-season, if I want to play those big minutes next year and do something good here with the Regina Pats, I need to work harder in the off-season.
Hunt only played two games in the 2012-13 season during a campaign that was erased due to injury. Now, one season removed from that forgettable year, Hunt is in a position to be back on track towards his ultimate goal.
"Missing all of last year I thought there's no chance we would have had this conversation right now, but we are and that's pretty cool. My hard work paid off I guess. It's pretty surreal just to be on that list with those names, but like I said it guarantees nothing so I'll work hard this summer and go from there."
With a late November birthday, this is the first NHL Draft Dryden Hunt is eligible to be selected in. The 2014 NHL Entry Draft goes June 27th and 28th in Philadelphia.