Sawyer Hunt is coming home.
The Nelson Leafs acquired Hunt from the Kimberley Dynamiters on Tuesday. The deal sends forward Nicholas Ketola and future considerations to Kimberley, while the Leafs also traded goaltender Patrick Ostermann to the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.
Hunt, the younger brother of Florida Panthers prospect and WHL MVP Dryden Hunt, scored 14 goals and had 21 assists in 45 games with the Dynamiters last season. The 19-year-old forward has 20 goals and 32 assists in 89 career KIJHL games with Kimberley. He was also a force in the playoffs, scoring five goals and 11 assists in 19 post-season games.
Leafs general manager Sean Dooley said the team was chasing Hunt as soon as the season ended.
“He adds size, he adds grit and he adds scoring power,” said Dooley, who added the Nelson native’s experience winning a league title in 2015 and competing in the Cyclone Taylor Cup will help his team. “He’s a power forward and he’ll definitely be a top forward in our division and probably the league.”
Hunt’s inclusion on the Leafs roster isn’t quite a done deal. He’ll be trying out for the Junior A Surrey Eagle, but will play for the Leafs if that doesn’t pan out.
The trade represents a big upgrade on offence for Nelson. Ketola had just five goals and seven assists in 46 games of his rookie year with the Leafs last season.
“[Ketola’s] got a good opportunity there, a fresh start,” said Dooley. “He started off in our lineup on the second line and in the second half this season he struggled a bit and was bumped down the lineup. But I think given the right opportunity and the right chance that he’s going to be a very effective player for Kimberley.”
The moving of Ostermann, who was acquired for cash, represents a changing of the guard between the pipes for the Leafs. He finished the regular season with a 3.18 goals-against average and an .896 save percentage in 28 games played. The Thunder Cats inquired about Ostermann as part of their plans to host next season’s Cyclone Taylor Cup.
Dooley said the trade opens the door for Jason Sandhu, who the Leafs acquired from the PJHL’s Ridge Meadows Flames earlier this month. Forward Dale Howell was also part of the Sandhu deal, and the addition of Hunt gives the Leafs a new look heading into August’s training camp.
“We’re happy for Patrick and we’re happy for Nic and we’re obviously happy with what we got in return,” said Dooley.