2019-20 Team: Moose Jaw Warriors
Date of Birth: May 15, 2002
Place of Birth: Brandon, Canada
Ht: 6-foot-0 Wt: 198 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 25th (Among NA skaters)
- Future Considerations: 85th
- The Hockey Writers (Josh Bell): 64th
- The Hockey Writers (Andrew Forbes): 88th
- The Hockey Writers (Larry Fisher): 80th
Heading into the 2019-20 season, Daemon Hunt was already seen as a top-flight defensive prospect. He impressed during his time with the Brandon Wheat Kings Bantam AAA, posting more than a point per game during his final two seasons with the franchise.
As a top selection in the WHL draft, Hunt made his debut with the Moose Jaw Warriors as a 15-year-old, scoring a goal in nine starts despite being so young. Once he received the opportunity to play an entire season in 2018-19, he thrived, posting 20 points in 57 games in a more limited role behind Josh Brook ad Jett Woo, two second-round NHL draft picks.
With Woo and Brook graduating from the team, Hunt was given a bigger role for the Warriors during the 2019-20 season. In this role, he had a bit of a mixed start, posting a solid 15 points in 28 games, but going minus-24 during that span, a far cry from his plus-21 from the year prior.
Related: THW’s 2020 NHL Draft Guide
If things had gone like normal, these numbers may have improved as he adjusted to life as a top-pairing defenseman. However, a freak injury in December caused Hunt to miss three months before returning in February just to have the WHL season cut shorts due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Due to these circumstances, there are many questions surrounding Hunt as he prepares for the 2020 NHL draft.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Daemon Hunt – NHL Draft Projection
Despite having some questions around him, Hunt should still be considered a top-end defensive prospect. At worst, he could fall to the late third-round if teams are concerned about his injury and missed playing time in 2019-20.
However, Hunt has enough upside that a franchise might want to take a chance on him as early as the late second-round. While he would need time to develop his game, he has the potential to be a great pick for a team willing to give him the right opportunities.
Playing for the Warriors, Hunt recorded a goal and an assist in nine games with two penalty minutes and a plus-4 rating. Scoring a goal in the WHL as a 15-year-old is no easy task and doing it from the blue line is even harder…Austin Friesen – WHL.CA
A nine-game audition with the Warriors in the 2017-18 WHL Regular Season saw Hunt learn to adjust to the WHL’s level of play in the right way. In an increased role during a full 2018-19 campaign, Hunt finished fourth among rookie defencemen in scoring with 20 points (7G-13A).Robert Murray – WHL.CA
- Developing a two-way game
- Good offensive instincts to build upon
- Has defensive upside
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Skating needs to improve before he can reach the AHL/NHL
- Defensive skill set isn’t the most advanced
- Injury in 2019 slowed his overall development
Big-bodied two-way defensemen will always have a place in the NHL. If Hunt can continue to fill out his physical form and develop his overall game, he could easily become a top-four minute-munching defenseman who finds time on the power play.
He will likely need years to grow, so whichever team drafts him must know going in that he will be a bit of a project. If given that time to develop in the AHL, however, Hunt could become, at the very least, a solid No. 5 defenseman in the NHL.
Risk – 4/5, Reward – 3/5
With injury slowing his 2019-20 season, you are taking at face value what Hunt did in 2018-19, when he was playing behind two very good defensemen. If it turns out that he was being carried by those players, he could be a bit of a missed pick if selected in the second round.
If he is taken in the third round, however, he has the toolkit to become an NHL starter. Patience will be key in his development but if all goes right, Hunt has the potential to be one of the steals of the 2020 NHL Draft.
Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.