Current Stockton Thunder forward, Eric Hunter, has signed an AHL contract with the Oklahoma City Barons. The Prince George Cougar, who I believe still holds the record for number of points scored for that WHL team, is a long in the tooth player even in what is only his second full year as a pro. Five years in the Western League, four years at U of Albert, and then a full season with the Lake Erie Monsters a year ago, has brought Mr. Hunter to the Stockton Thunder in 2012-2013. A shiny penny lost in a sea of silver dollars – Hunter was completely irrelevant in training camp in OKC. And that’s no entirely his fault given who was in camp this season. There was seemingly no room for a dark horse.
Much like Mark Arobello a few seasons ago, it’s not uncommon for ECHL players to emerge as legitimate forwards in the American League from time to time. Hunter, with a full season of AHL experience already, isn’t completely ripping up the ECHL, but he’s not brutally ineffective either. He’ll make a fine callup in a pinch. And that moment might come quicker than we think. Josh Green still out, Ryan Martindale with a twinge of something, and likely more to come in the month or so (simply due to the nature of the game), Hunter will be a good recall on the totem pole alongside Kristians Pelss, Cam Abney (normally a Thunder guy), and Philippe Cornet. So don’t be surprised if we see him for a smattering of games in the not-so-distant future.
Official release by the team:
The Oklahoma City Barons signed forward Eric Hunter to an American Hockey League contract, General Manager Bill Scott announced today.
Hunter, 26, signed with the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL during the summer, but attended training camp with the Barons in October. With Stockton, Hunter has six points (1-5-6) in nine games played. Last season, the 6-1, 194-pounder from Winnipeg, Manitoba played in 75 games with the Lake Erie Monsters and scored 16 points (6-10-16).
Prior to turning pro, Hunter played four seasons at the University of Alberta. In 105 games with the Golden Bears, he scored 98 points (40-58-98). Prior to attending the University of Alberta, he played five seasons with the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League. He scored 233 points (111-122-233) in 323 games played with the Cougars. Hunter’s 111 goals and 233 points are Cougars’ franchise records in those categories.
He has the unique distinction of being drafted twice. He was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 8th round (229th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and in the 6th round (174th overall) by the New York Rangers in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.