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The Utah NHL Team Makes News By Signing Prospect

The latest reincarnation of the original Winnipeg Jets franchise, the Utah hockey club, has made news today. General Manager Bill Armstrong announced that the club’s prospect, Julian Lutz, signs his Entry-Level Contract (ELC). This contract is a three-year deal, including an annual cap hit of $923,000, and ends in the summer of 2027. Lutz will have restricted free agent (RFA) status at the conclusion of the deal.

Utah NHL Team Makes News as Julian Lutz Signs ELC

Julian Lutz signs his ELC with the franchise that drafted him. He was an Arizona Coyotes draft pick in 2022, as he went 43rd overall. Furthermore, Lutz is a 20-year-old left winger, coming off a strong USHL season with the Green Bay Gamblers. In 50 games played, he had 24 goals and 44 assists for 68 points. That had him tied for 11th in league scoring. In addition, consider the fact he missed 12 games for Green Bay, so it is possible he could’ve finished with more points.

This was an excellent season for Lutz’s offensive development. In contrast, his scoring ability had flatlined playing in Germany the past couple seasons. He had spent time in top division, DEL with EHC Munchen, but injuries had limited his games played totals. Therefore, coming over to the USHL, and show he could put up solid numbers, was all the Utah franchise needed to see in order to want to sign him to his ELC.

What Does This Signing Mean for Utah

It most likely doesn’t factor into Utah’s NHL plans for 2024-25. Lutz having had a strong season in the USHL, a junior league, will need to prove himself in the AHL. Look for Lutz to spend a minimum of a year in the AHL. He would definitely need to show he can be a consistent scorer at the AHL level and a responsibly defensive professional hockey player before it will make sense for him to make the leap to the NHL. Of course, talented offensive players like Lutz, their success can somewhat depend on who their linemates are. This is especially given the makeup of the AHL having many players as responsible and tough checkers.

Perhaps we won’t truly see him reach his potential until he can be united with the Utah’s top young players. Names like Matias Maccelli or Dylan Guenther would be the type of guys waiting for another point producer like Lutz to hit his stride. In any sense, Utah is still looking to rebuild, despite the team’s hot start to the 2023-24 season. They were 19-15-2 at one point last year, but fell off, finishing seventh in the Central Division standings. Therefore, there is no rush from an organizational standpoint to have guys like Lutz produce at the NHL level. That can be a huge weight off of the shoulder of a young player, especially one expected to consistently produce.

Arizona Coyotes Top Prospects 2023 Edition

Main photo credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports



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