After losing some of their depth when the Detroit Red Wings claimed defenseman Christian Djoos on waivers Saturday and the injury to Brendan Guhle, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the Anaheim Ducks are expected to sign unrestricted free agent Ben Hutton to a professional tryout agreement.
The 27-year-old blueliner, who spent last year with the Los Angeles Kings, has been a full-time player in the league for five years, four with the Vancouver Canucks. However, the Canucks opted not to offer Hutton a qualifying offer in 2019, prompting him to sign with the Kings and now leaving him on the free agent market. While hardly a top-four paring defenseman, Hutton provides solid depth as a third-pairing defenseman with both power play and penalty kill experience.
Regardless, Hutton has remained on the market through the offseason and training camp. Rumors that New Jersey and Boston were both interested in bringing the defenseman on board, but neither team pulled the trigger. Now Hutton will challenge for a spot on the Ducks roster.
Anaheim is set at the top four with Hampus Lindholm and Kevin Shattenkirk on the first pairing and Josh Manson and Cam Fowler on the second pairing. The third pairing is wide open with Jacob Larsson the leading candidate to take one of the final spots, while Hutton will likely fight it out with Jani Hakanpaa, Kodie Curran, Simon Benoit and Josh Mahura. Hutton also could eventually be put on waivers to be put onto the taxi squad, like the Ducks had hoped to do with Djoos. Considering no one was interested in signing Hutton to a PTO before, it would make sense that no one would claim him then.