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Canadiens Prospect Hutson Makes Right Call For Next Season



Canadiens prospect Lane Hutson

The Montreal Canadiens have several exciting players in their prospect pool.

But none are more exciting than defenceman Lane Hutson.

The 2022 second-round pick finished his freshman season in style, breaking several NCAA records as he outscored the vast majority of forwards in the league.

As expected, the 18-year-old phenom announced he will return to the NCAA next year to take part in another season with the Boston University Terriers.

Canadiens prospect Lane Hutson instagram


Without getting into too much detail about his ridiculous season, we can safely say he emerged as one of the most exciting prospects in hockey. To get a better idea of all his many exploits, you can check out this fantastic article by NCAA expert Chris Peters.

However, despite outscoring all but six players in the NCAA, the defenceman still has work to do before he’s ready to jump to professional hockey.


Before anyone sends me thinly-veiled threats for mentioning Hutson’s weaknesses, let’s be clear: Hutson’s skillset is overflowing with strengths. He doesn’t have much left to figure out, but like all young defencemen, there are certain aspects of his game that could stand to be improved.

One such weakness was apparent against Western Michigan in the NCAA Manchester Regional.

Of course, Hutson scored a goal in that game, and you’d be hard-pressed to argue he was not a significant reason why Boston University won, but he did get caught deep prior to Western Michigan’s lone goal of the game, a situation that has happened on a few occasions this season.

In a sense, it’s a weakness that is driven by strengths.

He is incredibly confident, has an eye for supporting the attack, and creates chaos in the offensive zone whenever he joins the rush.

However, once in a while, he fails to pick his spot perfectly, leaving him deep in the offensive zone while the puck is driven up the ice toward the Terriers’ defensive zone.

On this particular play, Hutson identified the issue quickly and attempted to quickly return to his position, but the damage was already done thanks to a perfect deflection in front of the Terriers goaltender.

The second issue present in Hutson’s game is his defensive positioning.

Once again, this isn’t a significant issue, but rather one that stems from a lack of experience. It’s easy to forget he’s just 18 years old and has fewer than 40 games worth of experience in the NCAA, which, for the most part, took place in the offensive zone.

His gap control and defensive positioning could stand to be improved, which will eventually give him a leg up on the competition once he’s ready to transition to the professional ranks.

It’s something he worked on with Adam Nicholas at the Canadiens’ development camp, which means the team has already identified it as a potential weakness, but given Hutson’s skillset, it’s not a weakness that should be difficult to overcome.

Moving Forward

The decision to stay another season at Boston University won’t just improve his defensive work. He should also see an uptick in scoring, given he will likely be used on the first power-play unit, and thus, will have a great chance to improve upon the two power-play goals he scored in 2022-23.

It will also give Hutson a chance to add some mass to his frame.

Those who follow my prospect coverage know that I don’t put much stock into size, but when it comes to players like Hutson, who is known in the NCAA for evading bodychecks with the greatest of ease, there is a certain worry regarding his diminutive frame.

At 5’10” and 155 lbs, Hutson epitomizes mobility and dexterity, but it’s also clear that he would struggle in one-on-one battles against much larger opponents in the NHL.

Unlike Boston University, the Canadiens spend much more time in their defensive zone, a reality we must consider when projecting Hutson’s NHL potential.

With that in mind, Canadiens fans should not lose any sleep over the revelation that their top prospect has some things to work on before making the jump to the NHL.

The NHL is littered with prospects that have struggled to transition to professional hockey because they made were rushed to the big leagues.

And when it comes to top prospects such as Hutson, there’s really nothing to lose by leaving him in the NCAA for an additional year.

It won’t just allow him to work on his weaknesses, it should also allow him to improve his ever-growing list of strengths, which includes an impressive arsenal of offensive weapons.

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I am curious to see how he will be defending big guys in front of the net and most of all moving big bodies in the pro level

Last edited 1 month ago by Jimmy

Hey Marc,

Considering the season for all seasons this kid had in the NCAA this year, what’s your theory as to why he wasn’t a finalist for the Hobey Baker? He should have been a slam dunk imo. My guess is because he’s going to be returning next year, they’ll just give it to him then instead. All 3 finalists this year won’t be back next year.


Hutson is a tremendous prospect but he will benefit greatly from another year in Hockey East imo. He amassed many points from having free reign to join the rush against weaker opponents but was prone to being neutralized by teams that focused on containing him as he carried the puck out of the zone. Northeastern, Providence for nearly all of their tournament game, Michigan and Minnesota were able to hem him in and exploit defensiveness weaknesses. His point totals will probably go down next year but he will be getting more PK and PP time and will come out a better defenseman for it

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