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Canadiens Timeline & Contract Options For Lane Hutson



Montreal Canadiens prospect Lane Hutson

Lane Hutson will be joining the Montreal Canadiens before the end of the season, but the timing is still yet to be determined.

With NHL betting odds pegging the Montreal Canadiens for a bottom-five finish this season, there isn’t much to get excited about; but the arrival of Lane Hutson is certainly one thing fans are getting excited for.

Logging another impressive season with the Boston University Terriers, the 62nd overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft has emerged as one of the most dynamic defencemen in the NCAA; and the anticipation is rising to see what he can do at the NHL level.

The issue when it comes to prospects in the NCAA is that the timing and the contractual situation are always a little trickier than prospects coming from other leagues, due in large part to the precedent set by youngsters in the past.

Generally speaking, the NCAA season will end, at the latest, a few days before the end of the NHL schedule; allowing teams to incentivize their top prospects from the NCAA to jump ship.

It’s a tactic that has now become the norm for top-end prospects coming from the NCAA, with the Canadiens having done the same with Sean Farrell and Cole Caufield over the last few years.

Hutson will be no different, but let’s explore exactly what signing Hutson out of college means for the Montreal Canadiens:

Contract Status

Regardless of when Hutson joins the Montreal Canadiens, he will likely burn the first year of his three-year, entry-level contract (ELC) due to his signing his contract as a 20-year-old.

The “contract-slide” rule, allowing teams to slide the contracts of 18 or 19-year-olds who have played less than 10 professional games, does not apply to Hutson in this case; which brings about its own set of limitations.

Because the young defender would be burning the first year of his contract and signing after the March 8th NHL Trade Deadline, he would be ineligible to join the Laval Rocket; be it for the regular season or any potential playoff run.

The only way that Hutson could be sent to Laval would be if he were to sign a Professional Try-Out (PTO) with the Laval Rocket to end the season, and then sign his ELC effective for the start of the 2024-2025 season; a strategy the Canadiens have taken in the past before with Lucas Condotta and Jayden Struble.

However, given that Hutson is one of the Montreal Canadiens’ top prospects and one of the most dynamic youngsters outside of the NHL, the chances of that happening are close to zero.

You can expect that the Canadiens will roll out the red carpet and sign him to his ELC effective immediately so he can join the Canadiens to close out the season, it’s simply just a question of when.

So let’s unpack the two scenarios:

First Scenario:

When it comes to the NCAA Championships, there are two phases: The Regionals and the Frozen Four.

The Regionals for the Hockey East conference will be taking place on March 28th and 30th in Springfield, Massachusetts, where Hutson and Boston U would need to win both of their games to punch their ticket to the Frozen Four.

Should Boston University lose either of those games, their season is officially over and Hutson would be free to sign with the Montreal Canadiens.

Hutson would be able to play in the Canadiens final nine games of the season from April 2 to April 16; giving the organization ample time to get a feel of where he’s at in his development.

However, if the Terriers continue on their torrid pace and manage to qualify for the Frozen Four for a second consecutive year, things get a little more complicated.

Second Scenario

The Frozen Four will take place in Minneapolis on April 11th for the championship semi-finals, while the finals will be decided on April 13th.

Should Boston University go all the way and win the NCAA Championship, the earliest Hutson could join the Canadiens would likely be April 15th, just in time for their final two games against the Detroit Red Wings.

It wouldn’t be ideal for fans, who are united in their excitement in seeing Hutson in a Montreal Canadiens jersey, but it would be excellent experience for the young rearguard to add another championship to his trophy case.

Just a Matter of Time

The Montreal Canadiens and general manager Kent Hughes have not been shy in saying they’d like to sign Lane Hutson, and the youngster has expressed the same desire in past interviews with Montreal Hockey Now.

“It’s really exciting. There’s nothing I look forward to more than hopefully wearing that Montreal Canadiens jersey in the future,” said Hutson in an interview last year regarding his appreciation of the Canadiens and the fanbase.

It seems like a match made in heaven for the player and the organization; but Hutson remains focused on bringing home an NCAA title after coming so close last season.

When the dust settles, Hutson will be wearing the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge; to the delight of Canadiens fans.

*For more NHL betting lines and futures, head over to FanDuel