Canadiens Prospect Watch: Hutson Sets Historic Scoring Rate
By now you’ve surely heard about the exploits of Montreal Canadiens prospect Lane Hutson.
And while the highlights have been plentiful, it’s important to view his impressive production with the proper context in mind, because it makes his season look even better.
Hutson earned assists in both goals scored by Boston University in their final game of the regular season, finishing his freshman season in the NCAA with 12 goals and 31 assists in 33 games, good for a little over 1.3 points per game.
By The Numbers
He ended his rookie season by leading all defencemen in points, and he also possesses one of the best points-per-game scoring rates in the entire NCAA.
Those aren’t just good numbers compared to most freshmen in NCAA history, they’re good numbers, full stop.
The fact that he put together such an impressive season as a freshman sets him in a class apart.
Despite playing fewer games than his competition, Hutson managed to outscore every single U-19 defenceman in the past 30 years, and consequently, owns the best points-per-game scoring rates in the NCAA.
Even if we include defencemen who played in the NCAA when it was far from a high-end league and most games were defence optional, the Canadiens prospect still figures among the best U-19 players in NCAA history
He’s one of the main reasons Boston University is enjoying a fantastic season and is currently ranked seventh in the country.
To give you an idea of his importance to the Terriers, we can simply look at his overall participation in their scoring plays this year, which was over 30 percent.
Updated Involvement percentage (% of team goals scored/assisted) of some top NCAA defencemen in their Draft +1:
Cale Makar (2017-18) – 21/104 – 20.1%
Adam Fox (2016-17) – 40/146 – 27.4%
Quinn Hughes (2018-19 – sophomore) – 33/110 – 30%
Lane Hutson (2022-23) – 43/135 – 31.8% https://t.co/5Gjnh3Zqh3
— Hadi Kalakeche (@HadiK_Scouting) March 5, 2023
Of course, there’s more to hockey than just scoring points, especially for a defenceman.
Hutson’s defensive game is far from his strong point, mostly because his offensive game is off the charts. Earlier in the season he struggled with defensive positioning and sometimes failed to take the proper trajectory to intercept oncoming rushes at the blue line. It was something he worked on with Adam Douglas and the Canadiens’ development team this summer. Not exactly a glaring weakness, but a weakness nonetheless.
As a freshman, Lane Hutson (MTL) is already the top-ranked offensive defenceman in the entire data set. The elite production is backed up by both off-the-charts expected goals output and playmaking numbers. Dominant across the board in transition, too. #GoHabsGo https://t.co/UZ7FqaKs5P pic.twitter.com/6odP7QuaWC
— Lassi Alanen (@lassialanen) February 28, 2023
Not only has he improved his positioning, but I’d also go as far as saying his gap control is now sufficiently adequate to be considered an asset in his skill set.
As for his decision-making, Hutson has done a great job picking his spots.
Oftentimes, we’d see him put too much pressure on himself when the Terriers were down by a goal, which led to some questionable rushes in the offensive zone, and consequently, situations that led to the rookie losing the puck deep behind the enemy’s goal.
Those situations are few and far between, as Hutson has quickly adapted to the speed and intensity of the NCAA.
It may be tempting to suggest the talented Canadiens prospect is ready to take the next step and begin his professional career.
But he still has to add a little muscle to his frame, and there are still a few aspects of his game that could stand to be improved. Another year in the NCAA has little to no chance to decrease his overall potential.
The annals of hockey history are littered with endless prospects who failed to meet their potential due to being rushed to the NHL, whereas there are few if any players who would argue they spent too much time honing their craft before making their professional debut.
When it comes to an elite prospect such as Hutson, erring on the side of caution is rarely a bad choice.
MHN 2023 NHL Draft
MHN Post-Lottery 1st-Round Mock Draft
4shares Share Tweet Comment! Reddit FlipAll but four picks have yet to be determined in the first round of the...
MHN 2023 NHL Mock Draft: Pre-Lottery Edition
13shares Share Tweet Comment! Reddit FlipThe 2023 NHL Draft Lottery is just a few days away, and we did a...
can’t wait to see this kid play for the habs. And i love that they’re not rushing the process.. something the habs never did in the last 10 years before MB departed.. about time modern development is in our ranks. #GoHabsGo
He needs to be able to survive in the NHL, so giving him time to bulk up is mandatory. It did not hurt CC to go for the 2nd yr. I see a similar situation for Lane, then on to Laval or the Habs.
Caufield Won the Hobey Baker that year though.
Everytime a Defensman ranks top 10 in scoring they win the Hobey Baker.
Hutson sits at 7th breaking 30 year old NCAA records
Send him to Frolunda.
They’re conditioning training is a big part of what helped Lehkonen jump to the NHL clean.
not mentioned in the article, but I absolutely love that he is now listed at 5’10″… yes he still needs to add plenty of muscle and needs more time in the NCAA – but if he were 5’10” on draft day, he would of easily been a 1st rounder… his skillset was never in question…
this kid is gonna be an elite offensive D man in the NHL someday, but I wouldn’t even mind letting him play 3 years for the Terriers 😉
Keeping him out of the NHL also has the added benefit of allowing the kids that are already here to develop further and get even better, which means they’ll be worth even more on the trade market when Hutson is finally deemed ready for the show. And, when he does finally make it into the NHL, he’ll hopefully be paired with a rock solid, defensive defenceman who can allow him to play to his offensive strengths. We’ve been waiting for a player like him since Markov left, so we need to let him play the style that allows him to be the most successful, while his D partner makes the sacrifices to stay at home and hold down the fort.
Bad call , he’s about to Win the Hobey Baker.
Like Matthews did he needs Europe to help him physically prepare for the NHL.
Frolunda HC Lehkonen’s team before he jumped clean to the NHL based larely on his conditioning and strength coupled with his ability to never stop fighting
Adam Fantilli is winning the Hobey Baker.
Last Rookie to Win the Hobey Baker was Paul Kariya.
He waited an extra year in the NCAA as you suggest.
He spent most of it injured .
If not for Olympics that year its fair to say the Legend of Paul Kariya woulda been stifled and his development outright altered.
MTL should not send him back to a league where he’s better then everyone.
Like Tournigny we should send him to Europe to play in a league where Hockey>School and Road trips arent planned around long weekend and Tournaments .Get him adjust to the wear and tear of a real NHL style schedule. I’d send him to the SHL or Liiga to develop as their Road Trips are longer but its less travel time so its not like throwing him into the deep end like MTL did Caufield with mixed results as we had to fire 2 coaches to get him at a place he could thrive.
I think the best spot for him would be Frolunda HC under their Captain Joel Lundqvist and their Defensive leader and Assisstant Captain Christian Folin. I think he could win a championship there while packing on muscle’s and developing his game