Ben Hutton has been sidelined with what Sheldon Keefe described as a "non-COVID medical situation." Not related to a hockey injury/issue, either.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) May 17, 2021
Defenceman Ben Hutton Unavailable For the Leafs
A trade deadline acquisition for the Maple Leafs, Hutton was supposed to bolster the blue line. Splitting time between the minor leagues and the Anaheim Ducks for a majority of the season, Hutton struggled to find his game. Only registering five points through 34 games, with a plus/minus of -13, Hutton was absent on offence. His advanced statistics tell the same story – a 45.8% Corsi for, and a -4.8 relative Corsi. Producing similar numbers in the minor leagues, he was not the most productive player on the ice.
With Ben Hutton unavailable for Toronto, they will need some fortune to go their way. Toronto brought him in for a seventh defenceman if one of their starters was injured during the playoffs. Zach Bogosian is still injured, and it seems as though Travis Dermott and Rasmus Sandin will be the bottom pairing. Hutton would replace either of these two if someone was unable to play, but with him out, the Leafs will need to find someone else to step up.
The Leafs kick off their Stanley Cup Playoffs with game one against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. While this series is in favour of the Leafs, they will still need to control Montreal’s offence that can score goals in a hurry. With over 31 shots per game on average, the Maple Leafs’ defencemen will need to be keen on blocking shots. With three players nearly at 100 blocked shots for Toronto, others will need to put their body on the line. The Leafs are comfortable in high-scoring games with an incredibly dangerous offence, but their defence will need to be strong as well.
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