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Fantasy Summary

Mobile, undersized defender with strong edgework and exceptionally quick feet. Has all the skill to develop into an effective puck mover at the pro level but his lack of size and strength could hold him back.


Observations

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July 2022 – Hutson is the most exciting selection the Habs have made outside the first round in the past decade. His combination of skill, agility, vision, and aggressiveness was challenged only by Denton Mateychuk and Pavel Mintyukov in the 2022 draft class. His dynamic ability and intelligence, in my view, were the best in the entire class of defencemen. With the puck on his stick, Hutson is a dynamo. He shimmies his way around opponents with ease and has his head on a swivel, constantly scanning the ice and gathering information. He has a terrific understanding of how to exploit defensive structures and to create openings for his teammates to drift into. He has first-pairing upside, and swinging on that at 62nd overall is a more than worthwhile bet for the Canadiens. This is not to say that he’s a perfect player or that his path to the NHL is a simple one, it’s not. Hutson is small, like really small, though it should be noted that he could still grow to 5’10”, which would certainly facilitate things. That isn’t the dealbreaker it would have been in the ‘90s, but it does mean that Hutson really needs to excel in a few specific areas to stand a chance to stick in an NHL role. First, he needs to build muscle, especially in his lower body. His defensive positioning is sound and his active stick does disrupt plays, but he just doesn’t cover a large defensive area and in tight spaces is easily outmuscled. Second, he will need to work on his explosiveness and pivoting. His agility is already high-end and his top speed is alright, but the pivots are rough, and they caused too many preventable odd-man rushes against this season. Improving his explosiveness would help him patrol a larger defensive area, give him a separation gear with the puck, and allow him to catch up to odd-man rushes. Most of all, however, his strengths need to be harnessed and further developed as they are what makes him special. If these things can all be fostered at the University of Boston, Hutson could very quickly become a leading candidate for the steal of the 2022 NHL Draft. Sebastian High

July 2022 – Hutson was scooped up by Montreal at #62 as the small defenseman feel to a late second round pick. If Hutson can grow, like he states, and continue his strong play this could be a massive steal for Montreal. Pat Quinn

October 2021 – Hutson was a standout for the USNTDP U17 team last season and earned a stint with the U18 squad where he tallied a goal and seven assists through just 10 games. He carried his strong play into the U18 World Championships where he stepped up for an undermanned Team USA, finishing the event with five assists in five games. Hutson has been one of the most frequently used players for USNTDP’s U18 team through the early part of the 2021-22 season, and has picked up four helpers in his first seven games.

Two things immediately jump off the screen when you watch Hutson play – his exceptional skating ability and his size, or lack thereof. He is light on his feet and can chew up a lot of ice in a short time, eluding checks with shoulder fakes and quick weight transfers to skate the puck out of trouble or create passing lanes on the breakout. He sees the ice well and identifies his options early to help drive play for his team from the backend with heads-up passes. In the offensive zone, his elite footwork allows him to control the blue line and freeze defenders in order to create space to attack with his passing ability. Listed at just 5-7 and 148 pounds, his size and strength are real concerns – especially for a defenseman. He can easily be overpowered along the boards or in net-front battles but he actually defends quite well at the junior level, despite his physical shortcomings. When defending the rush, Hutson is able to mirror oncoming attackers with his incredibly quick feet to limit their options and force them into less dangerous areas. His vision translates to the defensive side as well where he is able to identify passing lanes and take them away proactively. Defending one-on-one in the defensive zone, Hutson’s quickness allows him to stay with his man and he leads with his stick to disrupt plays, mitigating his size and strength disadvantages. He is an extremely intriguing player with a skillset that NHL teams desire in modern-day defenders but his size will undoubtedly scare some front offices. There is a wide range of outcomes for Hutson on draft day but he has the talent to be in consideration as a first-round pick in 2022. Nick Richard

 

Attributes
Fantasy Upside 8.0
NHL Certainty 6.5
Country USA
Position D
Roster Type Draft Eligible
Shoot/Glove Left
Date of Birth February 14, 2004
Height 5‘8”
Weight 159 lbs
Drafted 2022 Round 2; Overall: 62

Stats

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2013-2014 Detroit Red Wings Brick Invitational6 2 13 4|Playoffs1 0 00
 2015-2016 Pro Hockey Hutson Selects U12WSI U129 4 37 0|        
 2016-2017 Team Illinois PWQC Int PW4 5 27 2|        
 2017-2018 Team Illinois 13U AAAHPHL 13U15 9 918 4|        
  Draftday Hockey Selects U14 2WSI U149 2 57 -|        
 2018-2019 Honeybaked 14U AAAHPHL 14U20 5 2025 6