Ramblings: Hunt and Kakko; Rutherford; Devon Toews; Schmaltz Update – December 10

Michael Clifford

2021-12-10

It is funny how hockey can work sometimes. It is my belief that the right player slotted into the right spot can really change a team's fortunes. The reason being is one injury can put one guy in a position he shouldn't, and then the next guy in a position he shouldn't, and so on down. Just look at St. Louis playing Ivan Barbashev as the second-line centre last night in Robert Thomas's place for how much the domino effect matters.

I mentioned Dryden Hunt on a hockey stream recently and how he very well could have saved the New York Rangers' season. While obviously hyperbolic – they were in the midst of a 10-1-0 run at the time – the Rangers' winger situation has been a mess all year, specifically the right-wing situation. Trading Pavel Buchnevich in the offseason was a bad bit of business, and left them without any real depth on right wing.

Enter Dryden Hunt, now on his third team in three years. While looking at Hunt's profile, something stuck out immediately: he seems to be good defensively (via Evolving Hockey):

Those are exceptional defensive impacts. The reason why that is necessary is neither Artemi Panarin nor Ryan Strome are particularly good defensively, and that is a problem. It can be hard for them to transition the puck once it gets in their end, and that's where Hunt can help. In fact, it's bea