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Canadiens Draft Targets: Cole Hutson Could Spike Interest

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Montreal Canadiens NHL Draft Target - Cole Hutson

All the talk has been on the Montreal Canadiens and who they’ll pick at 5th overall, but they also own another 1st-round pick that could net them a special player.

After NHL betting odds correctly predicted that  Montreal would be selecting at 5th overall in the 2024 NHL Draft, they’ll also be picking at 26th overall thanks to an extra first-round pick that was acquired from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Sean Monahan last February.

There are quite a few prospects that could be available at 26th overall, but one that is likely more familiar to Canadiens fans is the younger brother of top prospect, Lane Hutson.

Cole Hutson, an electric offensive defenceman in his own right, is ranked right around where the Montreal Canadiens would be set to select for the second time in the first round, assuming the pick isn’t moved in a deal for an offensive forward.

In order to learn more about the player, MHN took some time to sit down with the 18-year-old and talk about his record-breaking season:

Similar, Yet Different

Cole Hutson is much more than simply just Lane’s younger brother, he’s achieved success in his own right en route to a very decorated career with the US National Team Development Program.

“He’s been unreal at pushing the puck up the ice for us and quarterbacking our team at the blue line,” said teammate Cole Eiserman in a previous interview in MHN. “He’s a great teammate and he’s going to show the world just how good he can be when it matters most.”

However, when you ask Hutson what he’s done to make himself stand out as a top prospect, his attention to detail is what stood out the most.

“I try to make sure I cover my bases, first and foremost, and then take the puck up the ice with speed to produce on the rush,” said Hutson about how his style differs from his brother. “I like the North-South approach on the ice, and I like to carry the puck into the offensive zone to generate offence and find my open teammates.”

For Cole, it was important to create his own identity with the USNTDP as he continued to round out his game and play a more complete style of hockey.

“As a defenceman, defence is a huge part of my game and it’s something I’m very aware I need to improve to get to the pro level,” said Hutson regarding the defensive side of the puck. “It’s one of the main reasons I chose to go to Boston University, because they play such a strong brand of two-way hockey and I want to be able to learn from that and grow.”

It’s no secret that Boston University Head Coach, Jay Pandolfo, knows a thing or two about playing a sound two-way game at the pro level, and Hutson remains very eager to get to work with him as soon as possible.

 

Record-Breaking

At the start of the season, all eyes were on both Cole Hutson and Cole Eiserman to break scoring records for the US National Team Development Program, with Hutson pegged to break the all-time scoring count for defencemen.

“It was something that was on my mind throughout the season, but it just came naturally when you play with such talented guys around you,” said Hutson regarding the pressure of living up to expectations. “I had to keep my focus on winning and supporting my teammates on the ice. Winning is what you remember the most, scoring records come second and that’s exactly how I approached it all year.”

But, when you say that you’ve outproduced names like Adam Fox, Quinn Hughes, and even his own brother, Lane Hutson, it’s still a big deal. Hutson admitted that, as the final games of the season approached, he did his best to block out all the noise and focus on finishing the season strong.

“By the time the U-18s came around, we all knew it was just a matter of time before the record was broken, but, collectively, the gold medal was all we were thinking about,” said Hutson regarding his laser focus on success rather than individual accolades. “Eventually, I broke the record and we celebrated a little bit on the bench. But, then it was back to business and to winning the game that was in front of us.”

Hutson was finally able to surpass J.D. Forrest, who scored 111 points over three seasons with the USNDP between 1997 and 2000; a record that had stood for the last 24 years. With 119 points over his two years with the Program, Hutson’s new record will likely be around for quite some time before someone else steps up to break it.

However, despite a dominant march to the U-18 World Championship Finals, Hutson and Team USA ultimately fell to the powerhouse Canadian team, headed by Gavin McKenna, in the gold-medal game. It was a bittersweet moment for Hutson, who felt both the rush of triumph and the sadness of failure within a matter of days.

“It wasn’t the result we all wanted or deserved, but I’m proud of those guys – I’d go to war with them,” said Hutson regarding his appreciation for his teammates.”

 

Onwards and Upwards

The younger Hutson brother now has his focus set on the upcoming 2024 NHL Draft.

He’s experienced the rush of the draft firsthand in Montreal, when his brother was selected 62nd overall in the 2022 NHL Draft by the Montreal Canadiens and he’s looking forward to his turn coming up in a few weeks.

“It was insane to see that kind of a reaction from the crowd,” said Hutson regarding his experience in 2022, “To see how passionate and knowledgeable the fans were and how much they instantly embraced Lane was special to see. I look forward to that same feeling.”

But, now for the tough questions.

When asked about his rapport with the Montreal Canadiens, Hutson admitted to having met with their scouting staff and having had a few touchpoints throughout the year.

“I’ve spoken to them a couple of times,” said Hutson. “It would be an unbelievable organization to be a part of. To play in that kind of market and environment where everyone lives and breathes hockey is exactly what you dream of as a kid. You want to be the guy people count on to get you to the top and few cities appreciate that like Montreal, Boston or New York.”

Regardless of where he lands, Cole Hutson plans to take his time and grow his game out in the NCAA for the next couple of seasons. That being said, with the Montreal Canadiens going out of their way to acquire both Xhekaj brothers at last year’s draft under the pretence of “good family values”, selecting Cole with the 26th overall pick wouldn’t be the most outlandish thing they could do with the pick.

That’s assuming that they still have the pick come June 28th.

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

 

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Peter

They should select 6’7″ forward Dean Letourneau not a midget clone of Lane Hutson (sorry to say)

Dana

Who would you take, Tyler Myers or Quinn Hughes? I’d take 1 superstar smaller Makar over any defenseman in the world, any size. Name a NHL superstar that’s 6’7 or bigger? One in history Chara, so….in case you’re wondering if there are any 5’10” hall of famers, there are lots.

I’d take Hutson at that slot unless someone slipped from the early to mid teens. I don’t think the Habs need two small offensive defenseman but if lane has a stellar rookie year, and I think he will, Cole’s value goes way up, that’s a huge organizational benefit. Unlike Mike McCaron or Poehling or Kotkeniami, tall guys that weren’t gifted skaters, Cole might provide or bring back some real value.

Better teams in the NHL all have a guy that drives offense from the blue line. Most teams don’t have a guy like that.

mikeysl

Im thinking if Basha is available that could be a nice add..most mock drafts are looking at boisvert…6′-2 Center…

Dana

I like to forecast where a prospect could play on our roster in a few years. Once in a while, there are great players taken late in round 1 or later but most elite guys are taken early round 1. When I predict our roster in 2026 I only see limited fourth line availability so with a late first round pick, I’d be inclined to swing for the fences or select based on future trade value. Where would basha or Sasha fit on the roster in a few years?

Greg

Poehling won fastest skater in inter team contests several times, his issue was never his speed.

Dana

He was fast in a straight line for sure ( I forgot he won fastest skater) but not very good laterally so I’ll stand behind not a gifted skater. Think him or Konecny is a better skater on Philly? Konecny is imo but Ryan is likely faster.

Billy739

Pass
My former Tutor was a 6’6 Forward taken in the draft in the 2nd round.
He had good skating and hands but his ability to stay be physical was lacking so he spent his career in the ECHL, EIHL, Central Hockey League before it folded and a few runs in the AHL.

If you’re gonna take them do it in the 4th round or later.
But dont EVER waste a good pick on a Jack Finley or Logan Stanley or Brian Boyle types who take FOREVER to develop and are almost pending UFA’s by the time they become NHL ready

Its different if its Silayev who’s 6’7 but Versatile Mobile D who skates like Subban but plays on his off side to use his massive frame to protect the puck.He’s a Freight Train and he’s got a soft touch pass wise. He draws a ton of penalties just because his style commands it by Proxy. He’s 17 playing Pro hockey for the first time and 18 by the time his first years done meaning he’s not likely riched the tip of his potential despite overachieving because guys like his size take time to fill out fully

Better to acquire Cole Hutson knowing he’ll be stepping into the system Lane Hutson just went to back to back Frozen Four Tournaments in.
Even if we dont keep him we’re putting him in a controlled environment where we see success for not only the Brother we drafted but the brother TML invited to Camp. Given he’s as different in style as Quinn Hughes is from his Brother Luke , keeping both Cole and Lane wouldnt be that hard.

Cole’s a PK guy and PP2 support Playmaker.
Lane’s PP1 primary and Top QB that includes over Matheson
MM is good at it but we lead the league in short handed goals cause of him
Others fumbled to but like 8 were directly MM alone with no partner to blame

By the time Cole’s ready for the NHL Matheson will be a UFA and gone.
Guhle and Xhekaj will be leading the Dcore
At this point MTL will be faced with a choice to move Guhle or Xhekaj to keep Cole Hutson or simply move Cole for a 1st+

Cole’s a Markov level Playmaker with a crisp 2 line pass
There’s not on Dman we have actively on the roster who can say that..
I’d say Mailloux is the closest as he’s got some creative playmaking skills but its not a crisp 2 line pass like Markov gave us for years.

Either way its better then a 6’7 guy that Coach Houle will sent to the ECHL like he did with our other tall lanky players in Bisson-Paquette which benefitted him as he came back strong and a top 4 AHL regular. JPJ and joe Vrbetic. Houle wont scratch AHL uncontracted guy for contracted guys. They either push them out or go to Trois Rivers

Tyrone

As enticing as it would seem to have another Hutson, the question becomes, “Who goes as a result?” With Cole being yet another lefty, which one of Guhle or Xhekaj are you willing to trade away as a result? The answer for me is neither. It also assumes that we’ve already said goodbye to Harris and Struble too. There have been dozens and dozens of prospects over the years that are tantalizing to envision on our team, but just aren’t what we need at that time. Even if we could move Guhle or Xhekaj to their off side, we’re now trading 2 of Barron, Mailloux, Reinbacher or Kovacevic. Would Cole actually make us that much better to do so? I don’t think so. It’s really tough to take a pass on the kid, but I just don’t see a need to draft him.

mikeysl

If we move matheson in a package for Necas (that doesnt include 5OA) then we could take Yakemchuk to add to RD pipeline. Then trade Kappenen + to NJD for #10 and take eiserman at 10.

net result

IN: Necas + Yakemchuk (3-5 yrs!!) + Eiserman (2-3 yrs)

OUT: matheson, Kapenen, Farrell, Winipeg #1, Kovacevik?

Tyrone

You would take Yakemchuk at #5? Why take a Dman at all? And if you did, wouldn’t you prefer Parekh over him (96pts vs 71)pts? Why not take Eiserman at #5 then to guarantee you get him and then see what D is left at #10 (although I wouldn’t be taking a Dman at all)? We need forwards. Even if you moved both Matheson and Kovacevic, we still have too many Dmen.

Billy739

We’re good
He has a dad like Galchenyuk with a big mouth
We dont want no part in Crazy Parents living through their kids.
When they present themselves , the players often moves out.

Necas’s dad can get away with it cause its CAR
But i Necas goes to most Hockey Markets signing a big new deal and his dad keeps speaking for him like this and controlling his life then i’d say he’ll never learn. Parents like that drive their kids mental as they wont butt out of their lives

Billy739

Cole?
I mean Drafting him doesnt mean keeping him
He’s stepping into Lane’s role on Lane’s team in NCAA
Why not give him the same environment overall with support from MTL.
Coach Nicholas is credited with helping Cole a lot the last 2 years .

He’ll take 2 years minimum
Matheson will be a pending UFA
Savard and Kovacevic will be gone.

So whether we keep or dont keep him
Either way we’re fine at that point in time.
But if lets say he breaks his brothers record and does what his brother couldnt winning a Hobey or a Title or both. Then i’d look at moving Guhle out. Put Lane with Mailloux and Cole with Reinbacher leaving Arber and either Barron or Bogan Konyuskov or Adam Engstrom as his partner.

We’d have Size , Skill, Speed and Grit still depending on the formation we choose but again keeping Cole isnt a must. He’s just more likely to reach his A level ranking and top pair projections then lets say a Masse , Basha or Oreilly would as options around MTL’s pick position similar to Cole.

From a Business POV it makes sense
Just because MTL has D doesnt mean they’ll ignore Best Pic Available
At our position that’s likely Cole Hutson or Charlie Elick who i’d call Yammerchuk’s real competition for most physical D man and big hitter.

It’ll be BPA cause when our youth core’s current guys are ready.
We’ll be packaging valuable assets to acquire that Jack Eichel level piece to put us over

Tyrone

But why not trade the WPG pick in a package for a top 6 forward that can be a part of our core moving forward, and that could help us right now?

chuck

cole said he appreciates , boston, new york montreal,
i wonder if geoff molson appreciates the legendary franchise he owns?

Greg

I say we take Lindstrom or Iginla 5th overall, depending on who they like more. We need to prioritize the offence this draft, so I’d only take a defenceman in later rounds. I wouldn’t like to see it dealt for a Zegras type player, I’d rather we draft at 5th, and trade other picks and assets to get a forward for the top 6. I prefer we not even think about Necas, his one 71 point year doesn’t justify his price by trade or by contract. Another 7 or 8 year deal that will age badly, imo. Even the 26th overall pick plus a young defender might be an overpayment, he’s more a 55 point player than a 70 point player.