The Anaheim Ducks have signed 27-year-old defender Ben Hutton to a professional try-out agreement, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Between losing Brendan Guhle for up to six weeks with an MCL sprain and Christian Djoos being claimed off waivers by the Detroit Red Wings, the Ducks are finding themselves shorthanded on the left side of their defensive corps.
Hutton, a 27-year-old left-handed defender, was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the fifth round (147 overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He played three season with the University of Maine in the NCAA’s Hockey East for three season before joining the Utica Comets at the end of the 2015 season. He played four seasons with the Canucks, scoring 11 goals and 59 assists in 276 games.
In September 2019, Hutton signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Los Angeles Kings. He tallied four goals and 12 assists in 65 games last season.
At best, Hutton offers a slight positive effect on offensive, but is equally as bad, if not worse defensively. Despite the sixteen total points last season, Hutton was the leading defender in shots at 5-on-5, with 109, also ranking fifth on team overall. A shooting percentage of 3.67 percent suggests he’s probably a bit unlucky, but he also takes a lot of wrist shots in the slot. He’s a volume shooter, but not necessarily a high-danger shooter, and doesn’t often create rebounds.
Hutton also ranked fourth among defenders on the Kings for 5-on-5 giveaways in 2019-20 with 31 (Drew Doughty topped the team with 63). He tied for third in 5-on-5 shots blocked with Alec Martinez, both with 67. Hutton was hit (83) more often than he laid hits (50), though he seemed to be used in offensive situations more often.
The fact that Hutton still doesn’t have a contract this close to the season opening might allow the Ducks to sign him for cheap when the time comes. Until Guhle gets back, it’s not the worst possible solution the Ducks could have found.