Carter Hutton had an outstanding statistical 2017-18. Over his 32 appearances, Hutton led the NHL in both GAA (2.09) and save percentage (.931). Now that he’s about to become an unrestricted free agent, the 32-year-old goaltender will be looking for a decent raise.
He just might not find it in St. Louis.
Hutton’s season with the Blues was statistically awesome, but it was also a bit of a roller coaster. He served as Jake Allen‘s backup, he was the number one starter and he had to battle through some injuries. Those injuries became a significant talking point as the season reached its conclusion.
Still, Hutton’s overall play should earn him a significant raise over his $1.125 million salary he earned in 2017-18. How much of a raise he will earn will likely hinge on whether or not teams around the league believe he can be a regular starter, but he will make more than $1.125 million next year regardless of that assessment.
Can the Blues afford to give Hutton the raise he has earned? Maybe not. According to Cap Friendly, the Blues are estimated to have roughly $12 million in cap space available. That may sound like a decent number to work with, but that total must find some help for the team’s offense (a tall task), and address the other free agents the Blues want to retain.
Allen is under contract through 2020-21 and carries an average annual cap hit of $4.35 million. With the Blues already saying they want to keep Allen in their plans, they’ll have to decide how much money they want to dedicate to the goaltending position as a whole. A figure of $3 million or $4 million for Hutton, an annual salary he could theoretically command if another team wanted him to be their starter, would be far too expensive for the Blues.
Ville Husso is waiting in the wings, but he’s likely a year or so away from being ready to factor into any serious plans at the NHL level. That leaves the Blues either needing to give Hutton a new deal, or searching the free agent market for a new option.
There’s no debating that Hutton deserves a raise. Though he has already expressed an interest to stay with the Blues, will the team be able to pay him enough to keep him around?