Since it’s summertime, and the living is easy, let’s start with a series of immature statements; I don’t want to say left defenceman, Haba second-round pick, Lane Hutson is small, but when he plays “Miniature Golf” he calls it, “Golf.” When you meet Lane you immediately realize he’s more down-to-earth than the average hockey player, about four inches more. I can assure you though no one ever tells Lane short jokes to his face if only because they would go over his head. I also don’t want to say that the Habs drafted Hutson to make their other 12-year-old feel better (I’d rather not name the other munchkin because it’s rude, but his first name rhymes with Bowl). I dare you to find Lane’s pic on various sites because you will swear Lane is nine years old.
And now for a dose of maturity:
For geeks like myself, who enjoy watching the youth of their favorite teams develop, Lane Hutson is perhaps the most intriguing of the Hab prospects. I am aware that the team has a plethora of exciting prospects, but for uniqueness Lane Hutson is on Unicorn Island with only “ONE” other Hab player, and, for fun, I’m not going to name him (yes he is male) until the end of the article, but please guess, you will be wrong.
Qualified hockey analysts watch Lane Hutson and go away with the same impression: an offensive savant, brilliant hockey mind, top ten talent if he was only four inches taller and forty pounds heavier.
So if the Habs are busting their cabooses trying to get bigger, why did they draft such a small left defender in the second round!!! The team is loaded with left-side defenders so why use such a high pick for a talented child-size player who plays the same position as Jordan Harris, Kaiden Guhle, Mattias Norlinder, Gianni Fairbrother, Jayden Struble, Arber Xhekaj, and William Trudeau? Because the plan is to use Hutson for a fairly new concept in Hockey that is used in other sports, the role of “The Microwave Specialist!” In basketball, the Microwave Specialist comes on the court when scoring is needed.
Imagine this series of events; for the next three years, while playing NCAA Hockey, Hutson grows one and a half inches and puts on twenty pounds. While he would still be too small to dish out punishment, it would allow Hutson to stay alive as he is sent flying into the boards time after time (that, and he is excellent at slithering through checks). Hutson will play power play specialist, overtime specialist, end-of-game penalty shot specialist, and occasionally do an offensive zone shift to keep him warm for when he is really needed. Hutson would be listed as the number seven defenceman but playing, not in the press box. The team will carry eleven starting forwards and the big guys, in great shape, can double shift. Would it hurt to play Juraj Slafkovsky 25 minutes a night? Remember we’re talking three years from now.
When you watch video of this gifted defenceman, Hutson tracks as a potential power play and overtime specialist in a big way … even if he isn’t … big. When Hutson gets open space (meaning power play and overtime) He is a potential superstar. With his slight frame (even if he grows), 10 minutes of action a game can see his career last until his untimely blindside check from hell arrives and sends him to wherever small hockey players go to retire, but not before revolutionizing the game as a microwave specialist.
Finally, I challenged anyone to name the Hab player who might be on the same Unicorn Island as Hutson. Let’s first compare their stats from last year;
Hutson, left defence, five foot eight, one hundred and fifty-nine pounds. Player XX, right defence, five foot eight, one hundred and seventy-two pounds. Hutson 60 games, ten goals, fifty-three assists, sixty-three points against USHL and some NCAA teams. Player XX 65 games, thirty-one goals, forty-nine assists, eighty points against QMJHL competition. Seems player XX has an edge in multiple categories including the fact he plays right defence, has stronger body mass, plays a higher quality of competition, scores three times more goals, and almost 25 percent more points in practically the same amount of games.
Yet Hutson is considered a coup for the management team and player XX got a Meh when he was drafted. And now the rest of the story; Miguel Tourigny was a seventh-round choice of Montreal’s in this year’s draft. He is two years older than Hutson and Tourigny’s main claim to fame might be that he’s Montreal’s only QMJHL draftee in this draft. FYI – He does have talent, dare I say a Hutson light?
In discussions with a certain hockey savant who will go unnamed, it was mentioned that Tourigny was drafted as an overager to get him on the Habs without competing for his free agent rights. It’s a smart move that the Habs have made in the previous regime; identify late bloomers and grab them before other teams have a chance to. I like the idea a lot, but the bottom line is they went after a Hutson-like talent.
My point here is that if Hutson comes up short (yes, I went there) the Habs have another candidate for the microwave job. If somehow both deliver the Habs can trade one of them. There are over a dozen prospects I’m excited to follow this year, Hutson is near the top of the list and Tourigny is on the list too.
FYI: I play tennis with a few guys who are a foot shorter than me. They are three times faster than me, react quicker, hit the ball harder, and basically, destroy me every time. Sadly I am not allowed to go over the net and body check them; of course, if it was allowed I would never catch them.