Name: Hunter Smith
Position: Right wing
Weight: 220 lbs.
From: Windsor, Ontario
2013-14 Team: Oshawa Generals
None of NHL Central Scouting’s top 50 North American skaters saw their 2014 draft stock soar as much as Hunter Smith did. After coming in at #140 in the mid-term list, Smith climbed 101 spots to #39 in the final draft rankings after a strong playoff performance. A member of the Oshawa Generals in 2013-14, Smith posted 16 goals and 40 points in 64 regular season games, he would improve his production in the post-season for 11 points in 12 games. His late-season performance and imposing size will undoubtedly attract suitors on draft day, but he will have to round out his game to be considered a top flight prospect.
“…some buzz has started to build for this late blooming ’95 birthdate. His skating is a work in progress — more the fluidity than a lack of straight line power — but it’s improving steadily. Smith’s work along the boards, which he controls with enthusiasm, is especially noticeable. He’s very tough to knock off the puck.” –Kyle Woodlief, Red Line Report and USA Today
Despite his fighting ability and reputation as the OHL’s toughest player, Smith tries to avoid playing the one-dimensional tough guy role, saying he emulates one of the NHL’s most skilled power forwards, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ James van Riemsdyk.
“Someone I pay attention to a lot is James van Riemsdyk on the Maple Leafs. He bangs in a lot of pucks around the net. I think if I’m going to be moving up to the next level that’s going to have to be my game. At 6-7, I’m going to have to own the front of the net. That’s got to be my office.” –Hunter Smith