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Everything You Need to Know About Hunter Brzustewicz

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Hunter Brzustewicz

The Calgary Flames surprised the Hockey World on Wednesday night by pulling off a blockbuster trade. Dealing off pending unrestricted free agent Elias Lindholm to the Vancouver Canucks, Andrei Kuzmenko and a package of prospects and picks were announced as the return. Of most note among prospects involved was CHL scoring star Hunter Brzustewicz.

Here is the trade in its entirety.  

To the Vancouver Canucks 

Elias Lindholm 

To the Calgary Flames 

Andrei Kuzmenko
Hunter Brzustewicz
Joni Jurmo
2024 first round pick
Conditional 2024 fourth round pick 

Following the news of the deal, let’s take a look into the play, style, and trajectory of the highest-value prospect in the deal, offensive defenceman Hunter Brzustewicz.

First and foremost. 

Pronunciation: Brus-Tev-Ich

Coming in at 6-foot-0 and 190 pounds, Brzustewicz’s deceptive puck movement skills are his number-one calling card.  

With a combination of poise, patience, and timing, the 19 has been causing nightmares in the OHL for forecheckers and defenders alike. His ability to move the puck into transition with a moment’s notice translates to pure havoc in terms of managing the neutral zone.  

Brzustewicz’s is happy to jump into the rush when his team gives him the green light, and his shot is deadly accurate if given time.  

Opposing forwards often get off the ice wondering what happened to them on the play.

The Kitchener Ranger blue liner brings a bottomless bag of tricks with the puck. Whether it’s a split-second change of direction or identifying a pass that the forechecker failed to account for; Hunter is simply a headache in the OHL right now.  

Offensive Production 

With eight goals and 61 assists for 69 in 47 games, Brzustewicz will likely be ready for a jump to the AHL next season. His point total has him in third place in the OHL among all players.

Hunter’s creativity while walking the blue line on the power play will put him in power play consideration with the Wranglers. Jeremie Poirier and Hunter Brzustewicz will make a notorious one-two punch if they both start the year in the minors.  

Areas for Improvement 

-Scouts report that Hunter needs a more lethal shot in tight. While he can fire off a hard, accurate shot with the time he earns himself in Junior, the next step will be getting his release off faster.  

-Like most prospects, Brzustewicz will need to work on his high-end speed. Defending off the rush will be a challenge at higher levels until that area of his game catches up.  

-The puck skills are far above average, but Hunter will need to get harder to play against. Stopping the cycle with his timing may work out sometimes, but the 19-year-old will need to develop the lower body strength to end sequences with physicality. Particularly in the playoffs at the AHL and NHL level.  

Projection:  

-Top four offensive defenceman 

-First or second power play deployment 

-Three-on-three overtime deployment  

Hunter Brzustewicz Comparables
Per Chace McCallum of EPRinkside

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