Craig Button makes bold statement about Lane Hutson

Lane Hutson has been impressive since draft day, but was he worthy of being the number one selection at the 2022 NHL Draft?
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes knew that Lane Hutson was a guy worth drafting and may have chuckled when he was available at pick 62.

Recently on The Sick Podcast with Tony Marinaro, TSN's Director of Scouting Craig Button gave a bold take. Button believes that if Hutson was 5 foot 11 during the time of the draft, that he would have went first overall. It's a bit puzzling, when you consider that he went 61 picks after that, despite stating that he wasn't done growing.

Anyhow, Hutson was touted as a mobile and skilled player, but because of his slight frame, it appears that he was overlooked. Hutson was very good in his draft year, scoring 63 points in 60 games, but there were prospects ahead of him who were playing professionally. It's not that Hutson wasn't good or impressive, but it is rather bold to suggest that his height kept him out of the top spot in the draft.

It's rather easy to say it now that Hutson is an elite talent, who is the best of his draft class. But he hasn't done more than Juraj Slafkovsky and a handful of other 2022 draftees. After two seasons worth of cooking in the NCAA, Hutson looked very comfortable in his two NHL games, recording two assists.

At the time of the draft, Hutson measured 5 foot 8 inches tall and barely 160 pounds. It is rather unheard of for successful defenders to be that small, but some forwards have thrived at that size. Thankfully Hutson has grown, just as he said he would and then went into the college ranks and flipped the league upside down.

I think that Hutson is very talented, but to say that he could have been the best of the draft is a bold take. I'm not sure if I agree or disagree, but if he is that talented, I am grateful to all the teams that passed on Hutson. Their loss will be the Canadiens' gain and if his ability to transition to the next level and adapt to the increase of competition is indicative of anything - it's that he will do just fine in the NHL.

If Slafkovsky can continue playing the way he has and Hutson plays like a top pick, then the Canadiens will be well off. That's not to mention Filip Mesar who hasn't yet played a full season of professional hockey. There's also David Reinbacher who hasn't played for the Habs yet and whoever the Canadiens select with their two first-round selections in June.