Don’t get Brad Hunt wrong, he is appreciative of the recognition. But if it were up to him, the defenceman would not be able to make the American Hockey League All-Star Classic in Syracuse, NY at the end of the month.
Sorry, prior engagements.
Hunt was selected to his third AHL All-Star roster of his career. His previous nods came in the 2012-13 and 2014-15 seasons. This year is different for the blueliner, who is currently playing in the NHL with the Oilers. It’s a situation Hunt, 27, hopes continues. But that thought doesn’t stop him from being grateful for the recognition.
“It’s a cool accomplishment,” said Hunt. “It’s just a tribute to the guys that I was playing with down there. If it wasn’t for them, it wouldn’t have happened. It’s exciting news and I’m happy to hear it.”
As humble as Hunt is, the honours are well-deserved by him as an individual. Hunt is still second on the Bakersfield Condors in scoring, despite being recalled at the end of last month. The defenceman has 23 points (6-17-23) in 26 AHL games this season.
Humble again, Hunt gives the credit for his hot start to the season to his teammates.
“It’s all about the guys. If it wasn’t for the guys, this probably wouldn’t have happened. It’s essentially a tribute to them,” he said.
One of Hunt’s former AHL teammates turned NHL teammate, Brandon Davidson, says it’s an honour that is well-deserved by his fellow blueliner.
“The guy is 100 percent heart and effort,” said Davidson. “He has the numbers to show it but he’s also a great guy off the ice. There’s no better person to be honoured like that. I think it’s special for him and he deserves it.”
To date, Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan has been pleased with what the defenceman has brought during his call-up.
“He’s proven at the American League level that he can run a very good power play and be effective,” said McLellan. “His mobility on the line, the way he can pivot and use both sides of the rink, and he does have a shot. Sometimes when you’re recalled you want to defer to people around you rather than shooting it. I haven’t seen that from Brad. I think he has to even use it more and get it off a little quicker and get it to the net because that can be a starting point for our power play.”
Regardless of the AHL honours received by Hunt, the goal for him now is to stick in Edmonton. Another player to receive these honours is hoping to get to the NHL sooner than later.
Also named to the Pacific Division All-Star roster on Thursday was Oilers goalie prospect Laurent Brossoit.
“It’s obviously something that looks great on your resume,” said Brossoit. “I’m very excited that I was picked for it and couldn’t be more grateful for the team I have in front of me.”
The 22-year-old netminder has played 18 games for the Condors this season, missing some time with an injury. He is 10-5-3 with a 2.52 GAA and .928 save percentage, which is good for fifth in the league.
“Right from the get-go this season, I’ve had a lot of confidence and it has kind of just snowballed with each win and each practice and each week. I honestly feel I’ve been getting better and better and better. It’s nice to get rewarded for that,” he said.
It seems to be only a matter of time before the young goaltender gets a chance in the NHL, as he continues to show strides and development in his game. In his lone NHL start at the the end of last season on April 9, Brossoit made 49 saves against the San Jose Sharks.
“I’m very excited and I’m very anxious (for an NHL opportunity),” said Brossoit. “Obviously, getting a call-up is number one in my mind. If I can make that call-up happen sooner and push the pace of that decision then I’m looking to do that. For now, I’m just focused on each game and being patient.”
Davidson, who played with Brossoit in Oklahoma City last season, says he believes his former teammate has what it takes to be a number one goalie at the NHL level some day.
“I’ve always thought that since day one when I started playing with him in Oklahoma City. I still think that now,” said Davidson. “He showed with that game last year up here that he can compete and he can play. That was a good step for him moving forward. As we move forward, I think he’ll get some opportunities and it’s just a matter of making sure he keeps getting better and he’s ready when called upon.”
Both Brossoit and Hunt are grateful for the recognition from the AHL, and both have the Oilers on the brain.