Montreal Canadiens: What To Expect From Lane Hutson’s Sophomore Campaign

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 08: Lane Hutson, Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 08: Lane Hutson, Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

After selecting four times in the first two rounds of the 2022 NHL Draft, Canadiens GM Kent Hughes felt comfortable in taking a swing of sorts. And swing did he ever, selecting USNTDP under-sized defensemen Lane Hutson with the 62nd overall selection.

Hutson’s height caused many gm’s to pass on him, even though he brought a doctor’s note as proof that he wouldn’t top out at 5’8” tall. Their loss was the Canadiens’ gain. Since getting selected, Hutson, has grown to 5’10”. While his game is predicated on being quick and elusive, burning defenders with a shoulder fake, before sliding a pass into a scoring area or exploding up the ice, he is still considered quite light. Adding some muscle during his second season in the NCAA might bode well for the talented rearguard.

There is no denying his high hockey IQ, nor his penchant for burning past his competition in the NCAA. But adding 15-20 lbs of muscle will go a long way in allowing Hutson to transition to the pro game. And while his skating isn’t a hindrance, he could stand to gain some extra power and speed, which will allow him to evade and battle with bigger, stronger opponents.

In his first season in the NCAA with the University of Boston, Hutson just might have made a lot of gm’s feel regretful. He posted over a point per game, eclipsing 48 points (15 goals, 33 assists) in 39 games played. The freshman’s rookie totals earned him a trophy shelf worth of awards, in excess of 15. He was recognized as rookie of the year and NCAA (Hockey East) scoring champion for his work.

Hutson broke a record for U-19 defensemen that was set in 1986-87 by Hockey Hall of Famer Brian Leetch. Leetch sat comfortably on the all-time scoring list at third overall, until Hutson passed him with his 48th point of the season. His recording-breaking tally, a goal, came against Western Michigan University.

Which begs the question, what will Hutson do for an encore during his upcoming sophomore season?

Second-season expectations for Lane

The last time a U-19 defenseman scored at such a torrid pace was 35 years ago. So, if Hutson didn’t already have high expectations to meet, he sure does now. And with that, we ponder, what is a realistic expectation for Hutson’s point output during his second season with Boston College?

Personally, I would say that a 60-point season for the young puck-mover wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility. 20 goals and 40 assists seems realistic, given the fact that he is now comfortable with the league, and will have a full offseason to get faster, stronger and more dynamic. I say he takes another step in his development.

It’s easy to compare him to Quinn Hughes and other smaller, dynamic offensive-minded defensemen. And, while that is far from a bad comparison. Let’s just let the young man write his own script, as the first Lane Hutson.

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