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Brad Hunt Scouts Connor McDavid

Hunt was part of the Oilers organization from 2013-16

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

Brad Hunt used to be an Oiler...kind of.

That's actually not fair. Brad Hunt was an Oiler. From 2013-16, Hunt was part of the Oilers organization, playing for both Edmonton and the club's AHL affiliates, first in Oklahoma City and Bakersfield, Calif.

In total, Hunt played 21 of his 42 NHL games with the Oilers, including seven during the 2015-16 season.

In Edmonton, that season will always be known as the rookie year of Connor McDavid, the team's 20-year-old face of the franchise.

At the time Hunt played his seven games with the Oilers that year -late December-early January - McDavid was out with a long-term injury. So while Hunt and McDavid never exactly played an NHL game as teammates, they've been around each other.

Hunt has seen McDavid's speed. He's seen the agility, the skill and most of all the explosiveness that's enabled the Oilers captain to be considered by many as the top offensive player in the sport.

McDavid had 100 points last season and is the NHL's reigning MVP.

Given the extra time -compared to his teammates - that Hunt spent around McDavid, VegasGoldenKnights.com asked the Vegas defenseman if there are any secrets to stopping Edmonton's No. 97.

Here are two takeaways that Hunt gave us about how to attempt to stop McDavid.

We say attempt because with a player of this skill, even the best laid plans of mice and men have a way of going up in smoke.

Video: Hunt will face his former team on Tuesday in Edmonton

 

1. It's Not Just His Speed

McDavid is the rare player, even on TV, where the speed he plays at is a level above the other players on the ice.

RELATED: Keys to game vs. Oilers

When we surveyed the Golden Knights' dressing room, the consensus seemed to be that McDavid is the fastest player in the NHL.

Hunt said it isn't just McDavid's speed that makes him difficult to stop. It's, like a power pitcher in baseball with that killer changeup, is his ability to change speeds.

"He's so good at changing speeds," Hunt said. "He has so many different gears that you have to be careful with gaps. Because if you're too close, he can blow by. But if he's too slow and you're too far behind, you just give him too much time.

"He's obviously a special player. He's going to be one of the greatest players to ever play this game."

 

Watch: Youtube Video

 

2. You Can't Be Mesmerized By Him

When a player is as fast, as skilled as McDavid, he has the ability to psyche out the competition sometimes.

RELATED: Maxime Lagace debuts new goalie mask (PHOTOS)

Where if a player is coming down the ice who a defenseman knows is capable of almost anything, maybe the opponent hesitates for just a second…and gets burned by McDavid in that split second.

Hunt said that McDavid is a rare player that defensemen are aware is on the ice at all times. But with the overall skill of his line - especially 22-year-old Leon Draisaitl, who was eighth in the NHL scoring race himself last season - focusing too much on McDavid frees up his linemates too much to destroy you.

Hunt said that it's about being aware, showing a little extra attention, trying to get in his face if possible…but not doing these things too much that it takes you off your game.

That on some level, McDavid's a great player, but you have to play him almost like any other player.

"I think you always have to know where he is on the ice," Hunt said. "He can do anything, from anywhere. It's just one of those things where you always know where he is.

"Because he is so fast, you tend to give him that extra second to make a play. That's when he's really dangerous.

"I think he thinks the game, too. He's so smart. He's just a great player, and you always have to know when he's on the ice.

"Always know where he is. That's all you can do."

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