Off-Season Targets: Carter Hutton


One of the most underrated backup goaltenders in the NHL resides in St. Louis, and he stepped up big this season for the Blues. Carter Hutton spelled Jake Allen on numerous occasions and helped guide the Blues during some tough times this season. In fact, from November on, he was one of the best goalies in the NHL in terms of save percentage. Not bad.

Hutton will test free agency this summer, and very well could be the top backup option available to a team like the Oilers, desperate for a goaltender to push Cam Talbot and play 20-25 games in the upcoming season.

Why Is He Out There?:

As mentioned above, Hutton will be a free agent this coming summer, wrapping up a two-year contract with the Blues that he signed in the summer of 2016 after playing in Nashville.

Jake Allen is just one year into a four-year contract extension that pays him $4,350,000 per season, and odds are the Blues will be committed to him moving forward. With prospect Ville Husso knocking on the door and potentially being the future, it’s possible the Blues let Hutton test free agency this summer.

What Does He Do Well?:

Hutton is a solid backup goaltender that can handle a slightly larger workload than one would expect. That’s good news for a team like Edmonton, that wants their backup to handle 20-25 games in a season. Hutton appeared in 32 games in 2017-18, this after playing in 29 games in 2016-17 with the Blues.

During the past two seasons, he’s handled an expanded backup role and performed quite well. This past season, Hutton went 17-7-3 with a .931 SV% and a 2.09 GAA. In 2016-17, he went 13-8-2 with a .913 SV% and a 2.39 GAA. Solid numbers in both seasons with the Blues.

Here’s a look at Hutton’s scouting report via The Hockey News.

Assets: Proved he could put up great numbers at the collegiate hockey level, and is also a force in the minor-pro ranks. Owns a solid 6-1 frame. Accepts the backup role with honor.

Flaws: Can’t hold down the fort for more than a few weeks, as he tends to play worse with a lot of consistent action in the NHL. Therefore, he could also use a bit more bulk for stamina.

Career Potential: Decent veteran backup goaltender.

Where Will He Play/Where Should He Play?:

Hutton, in my mind, is one of the best backup goaltenders in the NHL currently. At age 32, however, his time to challenge for a starting job is likely in the past. That said, as evidenced by his time in St. Louis, he’s proven that he can be a 1B type goaltender in this league.

He should be the backup behind Cam Talbot in Edmonton, and if he were to be signed that is exactly the role he would fill. He’d be a picture perfect fit for the hole Edmonton currently has.

What Will He Cost?:

Hutton, as mentioned above, is coming off of a two-year deal with the Blues that he signed in the summer of 2016. That deal carried an AAV of $1,125,000 per season, in line with a high-end backup’s salary.

I suspect a contract in the same range, two years and $1,200,000 – $1,500,000 would entice Hutton to sign on the dotted line in Edmonton. Again, that’s in line with a high-end backup goaltender in today’s NHL.

Closing Argument:

Peter Chiarelli made it clear that the goaltending position is under evaluation, and that the club is looking for a more substantial backup option who can play 20-25 games and push Talbot.

I’m not sure there is a better option on the market than Hutton, who has played that exact role and had a ton of success the last two years in St. Louis. He’s a veteran option, has proven he can play 30-35 games a season, is always over .910 in terms of save percentage and is affordable.

If Hutton hits the legal tampering period in late June, the Oilers would be absolutely foolish to not put in a call for him.

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