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Top Canadiens Prospect Lane Hutson Can Now Sign Contract

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montreal Canadiens prospect Lane Hutson

It’s official, top Montreal Canadiens prospect Lane Hutson is free to sign his entry-level contract.

Hutson was participating in the Frozen Four tournament which is currently taking place at the Xcel Energy Centre, in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Update: Hutson Has Signed His Entry-Level Contract With the Montreal Canadiens

And though he played for one of the strongest teams in the NCAA, the Boston University Terriers, he was eliminated in a hard-fought 2-1 loss to the Denver Pioneers in the Frozen Four semifinal.

This means Hutson is now free to sign his entry-level contract with the Habs, though we will have to wait a few days to hear from the elite prospect to establish his intentions going forward.

Seeing as Boston University is losing many of its top players, including the player who is expected to be drafted first overall at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft, Macklin Celebrini, there are low odds that Hutson will want to return. If some of the key players were staying, there would be logic in reloading and attempting to finally win the National Championship, but that is not the case.

If Thursday’s game was indeed his last in the NCAA, Hutson finishes his impressive career with 30 goals and 67 assists in just 76 games, one of the highest scoring paces for a defenceman in league history.

Lane Hutson Contract Options

If you’re wondering how the contract will impact the Canadiens and Hutson, here are some details from a previously published article.

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.

Potential Montreal Canadiens Impact

If Lane Hutson signs his entry-level contract you can expect him to bring a few crucial elements to the table for the Canadiens. However, before we get into his strengths, we should also note that he’s had a very busy season and it’s unlikely he’s going to log heavy ice time for the Habs.

He needs a little time to join the team, read the playbook, participate in practice, and then we’ll see if head coach Martin St-Louis wants to use him in a game.

What we do know is that he will get into at least one game, which will burn a year of his entry-level contract.

Once Hutson has acclimatized to his new settings, Habs fans can expect to see a very creative defenceman who specializes in creating time and space for his linemates.

He won’t have the ability to walk the blueline as often as he did in the NCAA, but his anticipation and vision should allow him to identify passing options and shooting lanes. Juraj Slafkovsky will be one of the main players who will benefit from having Hutson in the lineup, especially when the Canadiens head to the powerplay.

Hutson will need a responsible defensive partner, but the options on the right side are limited. David Savard could fit the bill, as could Johnathan Kovacevic, however, don’t be surprised if Kaiden Guhle, who is currently injured, gets pushed to the right side to complement Hutson.

In other Habs-related NCAA news, forward Luke Tuch is also available to sign an entry-level contract. He could end up signing a professional tryout with the Laval Rocket, as Florian Xhekaj did. This would allow him to participate in the playoffs while his ELC kicks in next season.

Tuch scored the lone goal for Boston University during their semifinal loss at the Frozen Four, a great shorthanded effort that epitomizes his penchant for maintaining a very high level of work ethic.