Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2022 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Lane Hutson Scouting Report.
The US NTDP continues to produce great prospects year after year. The 2022 Draft is no different with defenceman Lane Hutson the tenth player we have profiled from the program so far. Hutson had a huge season with the US NTDP. He put up 10 goals and 53 assists for 63 points in 60 games, playing against USHL opponents and college hockey exhibitions.
Hutson capped it off with an outstanding tournament at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships. He put up eight assists in six games to lead the tournament. Hutson helped the American team win silver. He was also given a number of personal honours including being named best defenceman in the tournament, a member of the All-Star Team, and a top-three player on Team USA. Hutson also put up five assists in five games at the 2021 U18s. He was also named a top-three player on the team in that tournament.
Hutson is committed to playing college hockey for the Boston Terriers. Older brother Quinn played USHL hockey for Muskegon in the USHL and joins him at BU. Younger brother, Cole Hutson, joins the NTDP next season. His father Rob played NCAA hockey as well.
Lane Hutson Scouting Report
Left Defence — shoots Left
Born February 14th, 2004 — North Barrington, Illinois
Height 5’8.25″ — Weight 158 lbs [173 cm/72 kg]
In order to succeed as an undersized defender, one must have dynamic skating ability. Hutson definitely has that as he is one of the smoothest and fastest skaters in this draft class. His mobility is exceptional. He has excellent speed and acceleration in both directions. Hutson can push the pace offensively and still get back into position defensively. When carrying the puck, his ability to quickly change speeds is a weapon that can fool defenders.
Hutson also has exceptional agility and edgework. This helps Hutson to quickly change directions and cover a ton of ice. He maintains good gap control and keeps attackers in front of him. He is also able to move well laterally, walking the line in the offensive zone to find a shooting or passing lane or making a quick cut to find open space when carrying the puck out of the defensive zone or through the neutral zone. Hutson has better balance and is stronger on the puck than one would expect for his size but that lack of size will always be a limiting factor.
Hutson marries his skating with outstanding puck handling. He can lead the rush through the neutral zone, creating effective zone entries. He also creates offence off the rush with his ability to beat defenders wide and make plays. This forces defenders to back off and creates passing lanes. Hutson controls the puck extremely well in the zone. He shows poise at the blue line and can speed the play up or slow it down to create offensive chances. His vision and passing skills are excellent. When a teammate gets open, Hutson can make a quick lateral move on a defender, combining this with a quick deke in order to open up a passing lane. A very creative player, Hutson can put the puck through tight passing lanes or saucer the puck over an opponent’s stick.
Hutson is more of a playmaker than a goal scorer. His slap shot is decent but it is not a howitzer or anything like that. He does a good job of creating shooting lanes and getting the shot on the net. He also keeps his shots low, allowing teammates to set up screens, get deflections, and pounce on rebounds. Hutson also has a good wrist shot. He uses it effectively off the rush. He also likes to sneak in from the blue line and let his wrist shot go at the top of the circles.
There is just no getting around it, Hutson’s size is a limiting factor in the defensive zone. He struggles to win battles on the boards or to contain forwards in the cycle game. His excellent skating helps him to stay in front of his man and maintain gap control when defending the rush. He also has a very quick stick to poke check an opponent or to cut down passing lanes. Hutson is also good at getting back in the zone, retrieving dump-ins and moving the puck up the ice quickly. His best defence is his ability to transition quickly to offence. Hutson can skate the puck out of the zone or start the transition game with a good first pass.
Projection and Comparison
If Hutson were 5-foot-11 instead of 5-foot-8, we would be projecting him as a top-five selection in the NHL Draft. The reality though is that while there are more-and-more small forwards succeeding in the NHL now, there are still not a lot of defencemen who succeed at Hutson’s size. This is a real boom or bust pick. If his game translates to the NHL, the team who drafts him will have a dynamic weapon on the power play who can also play at even strength and provide puck-moving and big-time offence. However, if the defensive game just isn’t good enough for the league, and the offensive game doesn’t develop quite as well as hoped, there won’t be a place in the NHL for Hutson.
Hutson will likely spend a year or two at Boston University, where he can continue to add muscle to his frame, something he will need in the NHL. Hutson’s game is reminiscent of Cale Makar. This is a stylistic comparison only though and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Lane Hutson that are available on youtube and Twitter.
Lane Hutson is very likely to slide on draft day due to being a 5'8 defender.
But if I'm betting on a small back in this class, it's him. Shifty, creative, decisive and boasts a great stick defensively.
Oh, and he can do this pic.twitter.com/eqjVWv6KZQ
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) June 5, 2022
Which defenseman has the highest offensive upside in the 2022 NHL Entry draft?
Theres a case to be made for Nemec, Jiricek, Korchinski, Mateychuk, and Mintyukov.
However, theres also a serious case to be made for 5'9 USNTDP player, Lane Hutson. pic.twitter.com/atT184K1wZ
— Brennan Jerry (@brennanjerrry) June 10, 2022
Just a bomb of a bank pass from Lane Hutson to Frank Nazar III for the finish
Couple of '22 kids connecting for a pretty one. pic.twitter.com/EXejK8KkAI
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) January 8, 2022
Lane Hutson everyone pic.twitter.com/SC9xdEuRp2
— Rutger Mcgroarty (@RutgerMcgroarty) June 7, 2019
— Gabe Foley (@NHLFoley) April 4, 2022
Lane Hutson is such an intricate player. Watch him use an open hip step to slightly move the D's stick out of the lane, before bursting in and getting a shot off.
Such a small part of the game. Didn't even score. But Hutson does this all the time and it is just… so impressive. pic.twitter.com/DmL7ik15Zi
— Gabe Foley (@NHLFoley) August 10, 2021
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) April 27, 2021
Check back later for our next article on the 2022 NHL Draft.
Lane Hutson Scouting Report Main Photo:
“I think what makes ‘Hutty’ so special is his competitive edge,” teammate Jimmy Snuggerud said. “He loves to win and it shows in his game.”
Lane Hutson’s competitiveness sets him apart in the #2022NHLDraft! 👊
— USA Hockey’s NTDP (@USAHockeyNTDP) June 3, 2022