With the 62nd pick of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, the Montreal Canadiens have selected Lane Hutson from the USNTDP Juniors of the United States Hockey League (USHL)
About Lane Hutson
In his second year of splitting time between the USHL and USNTDP, Lane Hutson made monumental strides in developing his overall game at both ends of the ice. He recorded 63 points in 60 games with the US National U18 Team, and added 32 points in 27 games with the USNTDP Juniors. Good at both ends of the ice, Hutson is a player with a tremendous attitude and all the right habits to succeed at the NHL level.
Related: 2022 NHL Draft Tracker
Hutson may not be the biggest defender out there, but his lack of size is easy circumvented by his positive attitude and excellence at puck movement and transition. He could stand to build some muscle on his 5-foot-8, 159-pound frame, but as it stands now, he has many tools required to make an impact at the pro level. Even if he doesn’t have one last growth spurt awaiting him, he’ll still be an asset in the near future.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt
“As one of the smaller defensemen in this year’s draft class, Hutson will face an uphill battle to make it to the NHL. However, with the continuing success of players like Jared Spurgeon (5-foot-9), Quinn Hughes (5-foot-10) and Cale Makar (5-foot-10), who get by on elite skating, edges and hockey IQ, he might just have a chance at stardom one day. Why? Because Hutson has all that in his toolbox as well.
“Blessed with impressive mobility, NHL-level passing and a workman-like attitude consistent with all smaller players, Hutson definitely has the tools to overcome his lack of size. Described as somewhat of a “unicorn” by U.S. NTDP U18 assistant coach Nick Fohr, he is a well-rounded player who defends well and generates offence despite being the shortest and lightest defenceman on the team.
“Clearly, his coaches love his game and what he brings to the rink every night. His strengths obviously lie in his skating and mobility, as those are the first things you notice when you watch him in a game. He also has a very good first pass and is always a threat in transition whether it be through his skating or playmaking abilities. He may not have the size of a top-end prospect like Denton Mateychuk, Simon Nemec or his teammates Ryan Chesley and Seamus Casey, but he definitely has the hockey IQ, skating and passing talents of a top-10 pick. If he was 6-foot-2, I have no doubt scouts would be talking about him in the same breath as Nemec and the like.
“Despite the aforementioned otherworldly talents, Hutson still needs to gain a few pounds of muscle to compete with the tougher competition in the NCAA when he joins Boston University in 2023-24. Even though he’s elusive and gets the puck and himself out of trouble more often than not, he will need to hold his own when bigger, more physical forwards like Matthew Tkachuk come in on the forecheck and try to bully him into submission. Knowing him and his work ethic and problem-solving abilities, he will probably deal with that in due course though.
“With the tools Hutson has in his still-developing toolbox, his ceiling could be as high as a top-pairing two-way defenceman like the similarly-sized Spurgeon of the Minnesota Wild. If not that, he will still become a solid bottom-pair guy who should be able to jump into the top four when needed. In either case, he will be a supreme threat on the power play and a good all-around defender due to his hockey IQ, good stick and elite skating talent.”
How This Affects the Canadiens’ Plans
The Canadiens are getting a solid defenseman with Hutson. He’s a good mix of skating, fluid puck movement, and excellent two-way play. Montreal’s cupboards are completely stacked when it comes to blueliners, enough so to justify trading Alexander Romanov to land centre Kirby Dach from the Chicago Blackhawks. Hutson will take a few years to improve his size and strength, but when he’s ready he could easily challenge for an NHL roster spot.
Covering the Nashville Predators. I work for a company called SPORTLOGiQ and have loved the game of Hockey for over three decades. I’m obsessed with advanced analytics and pair that with my love for the eye test – i.e. watching the games (I DO that too!)