The Anaheim Ducks have officially signed Ben Hutton to a one-year contract for the rest of the season. The deal is worth $950K according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. It was clear that a deal was coming when Hutton appeared on the COVID Protocol Related Absences list yesterday. It’s not clear when he will be removed from that list so that he’s available to play, but the Ducks have finally announced the deal.
Hutton, 27, was one of the players that felt an offseason squeeze, forced to sign a professional tryout despite a relatively impressive NHL resume. While he likely shouldn’t be deployed on a top pairing, Hutton has nearly 350 games of experience and has averaged just under 20 minutes a night over his five-year career. In 2019-20 he played in 65 games for the Los Angeles Kings and registered 16 points, while putting up strong possession numbers once again.
The Ducks relied heavily on their top two pairs last night to open the season, with Cam Fowler, Kevin Shattenkirk, Josh Manson, and Hampus Lindholm all logging at least 20 minutes. If Hutton can add a little depth to the bottom-pair rotation perhaps they won’t have to put so much responsibility on those top names, at least not every game.
One other thing to remember with Hutton in Anaheim is that he could be another trade deadline piece for them to flip. The one-year, low-money deal will be attractive to contenders partway through the year, especially if he’s able to prove he can still play at a high level.