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Lane Hutson’s Immediate Impact for the Canadiens

The NCAA college hockey season is winding down, following the conclusion of the Frozen Four. This means that Montreal Canadiens top prospect Lane Hutson will soon be eligible to sign with the club. The 20-year-old Hutson is wrapping up a dominant season with Boston University that saw him amass 49 points in only 37 games. This made Hutson one of ten finalists for the Hobey Baker Award for College hockey’s top player. With all indications that Hutson will sign and turn pro at season’s end, where will he play? Will Hutson make the immediate jump to the NHL or will we see him join Laval for their playoff run?

Hutson’s Immediate Impact

With the Canadiens this Season

The Canadiens current defence is experiencing a logjam. This is particularly true on the left side. The team has Mike MathesonKaiden GuhleArber XhekajJordan Harris, and Jayden Struble who all are left-handed shots. David Savard and Johnathan Kovacevic make up the team’s right side. With seven NHL-calibre defencemen on the team, someone would need to be sent down to make room for Hutson’s arrival. Arber Xhekaj and Jayden Struble are the only waiver-exempt players of the seven and thus would be the only choices. However, both are playing solid hockey with the Canadiens so they may be hesitant to return them to Laval.

If Hutson were to join the team immediately, it’s hard to say where he would slot in. The Canadiens would likely want to test him out as a power play quarterback. But with Matheson on the top unit, they may ease Hutson in with some minutes on the second unit. It would be exciting to see what Hutson could do with the likes of Nick SuzukiCole Caufield, and Juraj Slafkovsky on the top unit, however.

Potential Laval Stint

If the Canadiens prefer not to send anyone down, we would see Lane Hutson join the Laval Rocket. In contrast, there’s a good chance Hutson spends time in Laval either way. With the Canadiens out of the playoff picture, Hutson will likely join the Rocket for their playoff run.

Hutson would immediately be the top guy in Laval and would slot on the left side of either Logan Mailloux, Justin Barron, or David Reinbacher. Logan Mailloux currently quarterbacks the Rocket’s top unit but Hutson likely gets an immediate shot there, whether it be alongside Mailloux or as his replacement. Hutson should thrive with the Rocket and would be a huge piece for their playoff run.

Outlook for Next Season

Whether or not Hutson joins the Canadiens this year, he almost certainly will be on the roster at the commencement of the 2024-25 season. Hutson should be an immediate impact player in the NHL by the start of next year. The role on the top power play unit will be his to lose out of training camp as is his role on the NHL roster.

He may slot on the second or third pair to start however with Matheson and Guhle on the left side. Guhle, Xhekaj, and Harris have all seen time on the right side though so one or two of those guys may move to the left side. Of course, these placements could change drastically with some potential moves in the offseason. Harris is a top trade candidate right now as his name has been in rumours all season.

Lane Hutson is the Canadiens best prospect in the system. It’s only a matter of time before we see him in a Canadiens uniform, whether it be this season or the next. Whenever it may be, you can be assured that all eyes will be on Hutson as he looks to make an immediate impact with the Canadiens.

Main photo: AL FREY/for the Free Press / USA TODAY NETWORK


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