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Florida Panthers win Dryden Hunt sweepstakes, sign Nelson Minor Hockey grad to entry-level deal

The wait is over for Nelson's Dryden Hunt, who inked an entry-level contract with the Florida Panthers Saturday. — Stephen Simon photo

It's a move that slipped under the radar as most teams focus on the pending National Hockey League trade deadline.

However, for Nelson Dryden Hunt it's a day he'll remember for years — the day the 20-year-old sniper signed a contract with an NHL team.

Miami Herald beat reporter George Richards broke the news Saturday that the 6-foot, 200 pound sniper, who was sought after by a host of NHL teams, inked an entry-level deal with the Florida Panthers of the NHL.

Twice Hunt was passed over during the NHL entry draft, instead getting prospect stints with Carolina Hurricanes in 2014 and Montreal Canadiens last summer.

During the summer, the Nelson Minor Hockey grad was unsure where he'd be playing this Western Hockey League season.

Hunt found a home when the Moose Jaw acquired the Nelsonite from the Medicine Hat Tigers in exchange for a 2nd round pick in 2016 and a 3rd round pick in 2018.

Hunt, currently the leading scorer for the Warriors, has been on the front burner for NHL teams after serving up an impressive 99 points over 62 Western Hockey League games this year.

Hunt trails Adam Brooks of Regina by three points in the WHL scoring race.

The son of Carla DeBiasio and Jeff Hunt will continue to play out the season with the Warriors before heading to the NHL to join the Panthers or one of the club's minor league affiliates.

The Warriors, 31-22-7-1, host Prince Albert Raiders Saturday before travelling to Saskatoon Sunday.

Florida was also busy Saturday trading a sixth round pick in 2017 for defenceman Jakub Kindl; a third round selection in 2016 for Edmonton forward Teddy Purcell and a 2016 second round pick and a 2018 fourth round pick for Calgary forward Jiri Hudler.

Florida currently tops the Atlantic Division standings with a record of 35-18-8.

Story originated at The Nelson Daily