Tonight will mark the NHL debut of defenceman Brad Hunt. Hunt has been leading the way in Oklahoma City among blueliners with 15 points (3 goals, 12 assists) in 27 games. He also has a +1 rating and 14 penalty minutes.
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins talked about the recall, stating that he expects to play Hunt with a veteran defender.
“We are planning on giving Huntsy some experience to play with. We’re going to try that. We’re still kicking it around, but we may put him with Nick Schultz to start,” Eakins remarked.
“It’s an exciting time for Huntsy. I thought he had an excellent camp. I think it was the game in Vancouver he played and I thought he was excellent. I’m sure he’s excited to get his feet wet.”
Hunt echoed his coaches comments, stating that he was very excited to play his first career NHL game tonight.
“It’s an awesome, awesome feeling,” he said. “It’s my first time and you don’t really know what to expect when you get that call. It was really neat and I’m really excited.”
Hunt was asked if he felt like he would get that chance to come up to Edmonton, being an older prospect at age 25.
“I’m a firm believer in that you control the things that you can control. I just try to work as hard as I can and don’t really read too much into that kind of stuff. I guess it’s good to see all those guys down there, too, start to mature a little bit.”
Hunt has a history with Oilers GM Craig MacTavish. When Hunt broke into the AHL after completing his senior year at Bemidji State University in 2012, he signed a tryout contract with the Chicago Wolves. MacTavish was head coach of that team.
“After my season was over I got an opportunity to go there and Craig was the coach. I got to know him and he got to know me,” Hunt began. “We had a pretty good relationship down there and I played really well. That really helped me to get that AHL contract with the Wolves the next season.”
Hunt had a goal and five points in 14 games with Chicago and added a goal and four more points in five playoff games.
“It was a really good opportunity for me. He really gave me the opportunity to show that I was able to play in the American League. I’m so ecstatic right now to be here, I can’t find any words.”