It didn’t take long for Ben Hutton to become a star in the Canucks fans eyes AND the Canucks themselves. Once it was official in training camp, but did it even really need to be, Ben Hutton took the wet coast by storm and climbed his way up the rankings in less than a season. On Monday night against the Los Angeles Kings, Hutton was on the Canucks top d-pairing with Luca Sbisa.
That was his 58th career game. The Canucks love them some Ben Hutton.
He has such smooth moves, determination and a lovable face but his ability to be a little bit of everything on the ice has caught Willie D and Canucks management’s eye and its safe to say they want him to eventually drive this thing. I mean, if you didn’t absolutely believe in this kid, would you be giving him top minutes every night?
Right now, Hutton is 4th in TOI at 19:20/gm only behind the obvious Alex Edler, Chris Tanev and Dan Hamhuis workhorses; the thing is he belongs there and those numbers will only increase. A rookie season we have waited for since well, Chris Tanev showed up, but with the offensive potential of early Alex Edler and the defensive prowess of the former, Tanev; Hutton is the new hybrid that will eventually QB the power play and will get the top line assignments most nights.
In the 2010/11 season when Chris Tanev arrived, he wasn’t logging top minutes quite yet but to be fair, there were a few stars ahead of him; that and he only played 29 games that year plus the post season. It didn’t take long to realize he was the next “one” as far as defensemen go and he has climbed his way up ever since.
A night without Tanev is the equivalent of watching an episode of Fuller House on Netflix…not good. We’ve already seen that when Hutton is out of the lineup, pretty much just due to injury, that his presence is missed.
The Canucks really brought Tanev along and groomed him until the time was right to have him full time. Ben Hutton was given an opportunity and with a valuable spot open, he owned it.
The only other recent comparable we really have is Edler. In his first full season, Eddie was already getting top 5 minutes behind Ohlund, Salo, Bieksa and Mitchell. He was a point shy of top 10 on the team that year and when you compare Hutton, Ben’s further ahead. However, different situation creates different results.
With just under a third of the season left, Ben Hutton will most likely sit 6th or 7th by seasons end for highest points on the team. He’s already 7th and his 20 assists have been pretty. The goals..er, goal was memorable too!
Hut Bomb (trying something, seeing if it sticks) is just as effective when you break every aspect of his game down. With a minimum of 500 minutes played this season, adjusted, Hutton ranks 5th with a CF% of 50.5, a pretty nice position for a guy who is still figuring out the pro game.
No doubt, the Canucks are anticipating the arrival and eventual development of Nikita Tryamkin from the KHL and his large frame but that will come; Ben Hutton is everything the team thought he’d be and more.
There will be a time we’ll probably ask him to waive his NTC but until then, Ben Hutton is the hero we asked for so lets just enjoy it.