Lane Hutson; The NCAA's Elite Puck Mover

2024 Hockey East Men's Championship
2024 Hockey East Men's Championship / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages

According to Sportlogiq, Montreal Canadiens prospect and Boston University Terriers defenseman Lane Hutson was the best puck-moving defenseman in the NCAA.

He was ranked as their puck-mover of the year, and it's clear to see that expectations for his professional debut aren't out of whack. Hutson's defensive play has steadily improved, but his play supporting his forwards hasn't been affected by it. He consistently skates the puck through his zone and dishes it to his forwards or jukes and jives his way into enemy territory.

Aside from Mike Matheson, the Canadiens don't currently have a defenseman with the ability to take the game over at will. Sure he is doing it against lesser competition in the NCAA, compared to what he will face in the National Hockey League or even the American Hockey League. But after a dominant freshman season, he continues to grow and sharpen his already impressive tools to another level.

Jordan Harris and Jayden Struble have proven adept at moving the puck out of the defensive zone; as has Arber Xhekaj, but Hutson is already on another level. I expect there will be a transition period from college to the pro ranks, but after that, I expect he will make an impact early in his career. There are a tremendous amount of talented puck-moving defensemen in the NCAA, so for Hutson to be doing what he is, it shouldn't be ignored.

His career-best 49 points were enough to surpass his freshman point totals. But they weren't enough to etch his name in the Hobey Baker finalist conversation. Those honours went to Macklin Celebrini (BU Terriers Forward), Jackson Blake (UofND Forward) and Cutter Gauthier (BC Eagles Forward).

Nevertheless, Hutson leads the entire nation in primary assists for a defenseman. With the likes of Will Smith, Gabe Perreault, Ryan Leonard, Gauthier, Celebrini and many other forwards who had impressive seasons, Hutson is on the same level, but as a defender. Not since Andrei Markov have the Canadiens had a defenseman who makes plays like Hutson can, which will be a massive addition to the Habs roster.

Hutson has also done some pretty incredible things when he gets into the attacking zone and sets his sights on creating magic. Especially when his team needs a hero, somebody to tie the final ribbon on the game-ending bow. He has scored 10 game winning goals, which seems like something that would be read as a statistic from a forward.

Cole Caufield has proven that he can ice games in the dying minutes or in sudden-death overtime. So adding Hutson into the mix will certainly increase the edge-of-your-seat factor at the Bell Centre. I can envision now, Caufield or Nick Suzuki or whoever you choose, feeding the puck to a wide-open Hutson, who rushes in and snipes a wrister under the bar for the game-winning goal.