For Montreal Canadiens fans it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing a prospect to a current NHL player, and sometimes it can come back to bite you.
Lane Hutson serves as a perfect example of this, he has a very intriguing toolkit. He is both fast and shifty, and he uses his strong edges and quick feet to evade defenders all over the ice. The 5’10” defender can easily draw comparisons to number 43 of the Vancouver. Based on the fact that he shoots left, he is very talented at escaping attackers with a head fake and quick pivot.
His size, paired with his NCAA statistics also draws comparisons to another undersized defender and Norris trophy winner. Number 23 in New York, he makes smart decisions with the puck consistently, almost like it’s second nature. Hutson never appears rattled, he relies heavily on his vision and fluid skating, which gives him time and space to make high-percentage puck plays.
The final comparison is based on his dominance of the NCAA, and the fact that he looks like a unicorn. Number eight for the Colorado Avalanche annihilated college hockey during his two seasons with the University of Massachusetts. Hutson had 48 points in his rookie year, which was one short of the Norris Trophy defenders’ sophomore season total of 49. Hutson played two fewer games and had one point less which bodes well for him becoming a major contributor to the Canadiens blue line.
Year two has been more of the same for the Canadiens prospect, he has followed up his freshman season with a bang. Hutson seems to shoot more and be even more dangerous, because of his calculated style. He attacks like a badger, and the goalie often has to retrieve his jockstrap from the stands.
Defenders look silly trying to defend against Hutson, he is humble so he doesn’t brush them off. But he does make them regret their decision to get too close, he has puck skills that solve problems for him, and his brain and feet do the rest of the work. He doesn’t have a huge shot, but as he adds muscle, it seems likely that he will add a slapshot to his toolkit.
It seems like he continues to surprise everybody who watches him play, he is never phased by the stage or circumstance. No moment is too big for Hutson, and he has such a calm and cool demeanour, almost to say I will do this again. He knows he is talented, and he can outsmart opponents, but he acts like it’s just another day at the office.
I have no problem with comparisons to Quinn Hughes, Adam Fox or Cale Makar, they are promising, but set expectations far too high. Hutson like the professional he is, ignores the outside noise and comparisons, and he just plays his game. He constantly scans and moves around the ice, which makes him unpredictable.
Hutson just keeps on doing Hutson things, and it doesn’t appear as though he plans to slow down any time soon. Everything he does would be welcomed on the Canadiens power play right now. Hutson still has the rest of the season to sharpen his skills and grow more confident in his game. Fast forward to April or May, and we could find ourselves in the midst of a 5’10” defender feeding the 5’7″ Cole Caufield passes from the top of the powerplay.
He is on his way, but first, he has business to take care of in Boston, Mass. Perhaps it’s 50 points or an NCAA championship. Your plane awaits, Lane, and when you’re ready for Montreal, they are looking forward to your presence. I watch every Canadiens game, I assure you it is true.
Want your voice heard? Join the A Winning Habit team!