Lane Hutson is a 2022 NHL Draft eligible prospect, who hails from Chicago, Illinois. At 5-foot-8, 159 pounds, he’s an extremely undersized defenseman, but one who has a ton of offensive upside and plays fearlessly. He still needs some fine-tuning in the defensive zone, though. Combined with his size, or lack thereof, he’s projected to be a late first-round or early second-round pick.
Hutson spent the last two seasons at the United States National Team Development Program in Plymouth, Michigan. Prior to that, he played his youth hockey for the North Jersey Avalanche 16U AAA team, serving as an alternate captain, tallying 10 goals and 28 assists for 38 points in only 19 games of AYHL play.
In his first season at the USNTDP, Hutson accumulated seven goals and 26 assists between USHL and USDP play. He was elevated to the U18 club for 10 games, adding a goal and seven assists there as well.
This past season, he made significant strides in his game, leading all USDP defensemen with 63 points (10-53=63) and an incredible +59 rating in 60 games. In USHL play, Hutson added six goals and 26 assists for 32 points and a +27 there.
At the U18 World Juniors, Hutson earned Best Defenseman of the tournament honors, tallying eight assists and a +12 in just six games. On Monday, he was also named the recipient of the 2022 E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence, given to candidates who “best exemplifies commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness, and athleticism.”
Per @PR_NHL, UNTDP defenseman Lane Hutson is the 2022 E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence recipient. The award is given to candidates who best exemplifies commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness, and athleticism. #2022NHLDraft @USAHockeyNTDP pic.twitter.com/H0Lp3VZbjS
— Ryan Sikes (@ryan_sikes10) June 21, 2022
“Lane Hutson is a worthy recipient of the 2022 E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence after exhibiting all the qualities recognized by this honor,” said Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting. “Lane, whose season culminated by being named Best Defender at the 2022 Under-18 World Championship, plays a dynamic game in which he consistently excels in utilizing his speed, smarts and skills. As a 5’8” defenseman, any description of Lane has always referenced his size. One of his more appealing traits is his ability to use that size to an advantage and dispel any perceived limitations. His passion for the game has earned him the respect of teammates and opponents alike – a special player who will find his way into an NHL line-up and be a positive influence for others along the way.”
- D.O.B – February 14, 2004
- Age – 18
- Place of Birth – Chicago, Ilinois
- Draft Eligibility – 2022
- Height – 5-foot-8
- Weight – 159 lbs
- Position – Defenseman
- Shoots – Left
- Ranked #47 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
- Ranked #27 by FCHOCKEY
- Ranked #72 by TSN/BOB McKENZIE
- Ranked #40 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
- Ranked #39 by TSN/CRAIG BUTTON
- Ranked #25 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
- Ranked #44 by RECRUIT SCOUTING
- Ranked #53 by DOBBERPROSPECTS
- Ranked #43 by DRAFT PROSPECTS HOCKEY
- Ranked #29 by SMAHT SCOUTING
- Ranked #49 by THE PUCK AUTHORITY
Corey Pronman’s Analysis
Hutson is a constant threat with the puck on his stick. He’s the smartest player in the draft. He makes so many seam passes to generate chances. Hutson is also a highly-skilled puckhandler who shows great creativity off the offensive blue line. He makes a lot of crafty fakes and dekes to evade pressure. He’s not the fastest skater, but his edgework is quite good and allows him to use his skating to attack. The offense is clear NHL quality. Whether a barely 5-foot-9 defenseman who isn’t an elite skater can defend in the NHL is the question with Hutson. He’s a competitive, quality defender versus juniors and college opponents but that will need to be a test he’ll need to clear down the line. I think he plays in the NHL, and projects as an offensive-tilted top-four defenseman, but I realize the odds are against a player who looks like him becoming that. I stamp him this high because he’s the smartest player in the draft and I see just enough to the rest of his game to be able to elevate at higher levels.
Scott Wheeler’s Analysis
He sees the ice as well as anyone in the draft, regularly identifying plays a step ahead of the opposition. He’s got an uncanny knack for executing long east-to-west plays, whether that’s feathering high, leading saucer passes with perfect weight cross-ice or flinging a hard pass to a streaking teammate’s tape. He makes a ton of plays under pressure when other players would panic (though sometimes he could actually use some hurry-up to his game haha). Inside the offensive zone, though his shot lacks power, he acts as a fourth forward with his ability to slide off the line and create.
Smaht Scouting’s Analysis
Hutson has excellent mobility and it’s a credit to his crossovers and edge work. He can generate open space for himself and shake off attackers with his mobility. Good outside edges when doubling back in the neutral zone as he had run into traffic in the neutral zone and looks to double back to find an open teammate on the opposite side. Good inside edges to pivot out of pressure along the blue line. Hutson does a good job of leaning on his edges when turning his body to react to puck movement. By leaning on his edges, it allows him to retain speed and that makes him far more likely to generate open ice for himself.
Last Word on Hockey’s Analysis
Hutson marries his skating with outstanding puck handling. He can lead the rush through the neutral zone, creating effective zone entries. He also creates offence off the rush with his ability to beat defenders wide and make plays. This forces defenders to back off and creates passing lanes. Hutson controls the puck extremely well in the zone. He shows poise at the blue line and can speed the play up or slow it down to create offensive chances. His vision and passing skills are excellent. When a teammate gets open, Hutson can make a quick lateral move on a defender, combining this with a quick deke in order to open up a passing lane. A very creative player, Hutson can put the puck through tight passing lanes or saucer the puck over an opponent’s stick.
Puck battle in own zone
(All videos courtesy of InStat)