While several players are simply struggling to find a team that’s interested in them, that doesn’t appear to be the case for defenseman Ben Hutton. TSN’s Frank Seravalli reports that the blueliner is weighing his options at the moment and mentions the Kings, Wild, Rangers, and Red Wings among the teams to have shown interest.
Hutton is coming off an improved season relative to his 2017-18 performance. After struggling to merely stay in the lineup that year, he wound up logging a career-high in ice time at 22:31 per night, a mark that ranked second on the Canucks. Despite that and an uptick in his point production from six to 20 points, Vancouver opted to non-tender him over qualifying him at $2.8MM this summer.
That made him one of the better options available on the UFA market but that one has been particularly slow to develop; even Jake Gardiner had to wait until earlier this month to get a new deal. Nonetheless, Hutton should be able to find a landing spot soon if this many teams are still interested.
The Kings have been linked back to him going back to July. Their back end isn’t the strongest and he’s young enough that he could be part of the picture for a few years if things went well. However, GM Rob Blake tried to downplay the idea of them signing him late last month saying they took a look but it didn’t go further than that.
Meanwhile, Minnesota’s back end hasn’t undergone any changes this summer but head coach Bruce Boudreau was hesitant to give big minutes to players like Brad Hunt and Nick Seeler. Accordingly, someone that can log a heavier workload would certainly be appealing to the Wild.
The Rangers are a bit of a surprise on this list. While they could certainly use Hutton on their back end, they’re unlikely to be able to afford RFA Anthony DeAngelo without having to use some creativity when it comes to the cap and adding Hutton would only compound that.
As for the Red Wings, they lost Niklas Kronwall to retirement earlier this month which would seemingly open up a spot. However, they added Patrik Nemeth early in free agency this summer and still have veterans Danny DeKeyser and Jonathan Ericsson on the team so there may not be a full-time spot for Hutton to work with.
Nevertheless, although training camps are underway, it appears that Hutton won’t be without a team for much longer. However, at this stage, it’s hard to envision him getting the $2.8MM that he received last season despite his improved performance.