The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired defenseman Ben Hutton from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a fifth round pick in 2022. In a separate deal, the Maple Leafs also acquired forward Antti Suomela from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for forward prospect Alexander Barabanov.
Hutton, who turns 28-years-old on April 20, is a six-year veteran of 375 games in the NHL, was originally drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the fifth round of the 2012 draft (147th overall). He has 16 goals and 91 points over his time with the Canucks, the Los Angeles Kings and the Ducks. He carries a cap-hit of just $950k.
Hutton has made a career for himself by being a solid two-way defender that leans more towards the defensive side. He averages just under 20 minutes of ice-time over the course of his career, and has mostly filled in as a bottom pairing defender for the Ducks this season. He can play on both special teams units, but the Maple Leafs shouldn’t have to rely on him for those minutes. He may very well begin his tenure with the Maple Leafs on the taxi squad, with his Maple Leaf debut pending an injury on the blue line.
The Maple Leafs likely acquired Hutton to shore up their depth on the blue line. After acquiring forward Nick Foligno from the Columbus Blue Jackets and goaltedner David Rittich from the Calgary Flames, this move addresses their depth in the last spot they needed to. At the cost of a fifth round pick, it did not cost general manager Kyle Dubas too much to add a quality defender to his group.
For the Ducks, this move gives them an extra fifth rounder in next year’s draft. Given their place at the bottom of the Honda West Division, this move signals that they will continue to accumulate future assets as they continue to rebuild. Gaining a fifth round pick for 34 games of Hutton has to be seen as a positive for GM Bryan Murray.
As for the side deal, the Maple Leafs traded Barabanov, who had five points through two games with the Toronto Marlies, the Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate, in exchange for Suomela, who has six points through 10 games with the San Jose Barracuda, the Sharks’ AHL affiliate. Suomela is 27-years-old, and has 51 games of NHL experience, all with the Sharks. Like the Hutton move, this move addresses Toronto’s depth ahead of what they hope will be a deep playoff run.
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