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The Golden Knights have left for Canada but they’re still facing plenty of questions back home. Let’s get to it:
“Should Brad Hunt get more playing time given what he has provided the team?” — James (Facebook)
A question like this pops up each time Hunt gets in the lineup and for good reason. Every time the 30-year-old veteran gets an opportunity, he seems to take advantage.
It’s hard to make the argument that Hunt, who has appeared in the Knights past two games entering Tuesday and five total this season, should be benched.
He’s one of two defenseman on the team with a goal and is playing better than it may seem on first blush.
Corsi, an advanced statistic that measures puck possession through shot attempts, likes Hunt a lot. He has a team-high Corsi for percentage of 69.8 entering Tuesday, meaning the Knights control the puck almost 70 percent of the time when Hunt is on the ice.
Also, over the past two seasons the team is 32-14-4 (winning percentage of 64 percent) with him in the lineup and 25-14-4 (54.35 percent) without him. Hunt never seems to be the Knights first choice but he’s always been a good choice.
“Bad drafting and worse, (general manager George) McPhee not wanting to play young kids and let them grow in the NHL. Not one draft choice in (two) years is on team.” — Paul (email)
The Knights are the sixth-oldest team in the NHL, according to RosterResource, but they have let youngsters play.
Forward Alex Tuch, who is now 22, played a lot last year as a rookie and defenseman Shea Theodore is still only 23 years old. Bruising forward William Carrier is just 24, though with his strong facial hair he doesn’t exactly look it.
No draft picks have surfaced at the NHL level yet, but McPhee likes to slow-cook prospects and would rather over-prepare them than call them up too quickly. He also wants to give them an opportunity to stick around if they play well, which means timing will play an important role for when center Cody Glass and defenseman Erik Brannstrom make their debuts.
Right now, they’re two of six top-15 picks from the 2017 draft that have yet to appear in the NHL.
He won’t force either into playing time this season if he can help it.