Late last night the Los Angeles Kings added another defensemen to their group, agreeing to terms with Ben Hutton on a one-year, $1.5MM contract. The deal comes after a competitive market failed to develop for the 26-year old, but will get him into training camp before the season starts.
Hutton has spent the last four seasons as a regular on the Vancouver Canucks blueline, playing in 276 games and recording 70 points. He averaged more than 22 minutes a night last season, but was likely a bit over his head as the Canucks dealt with injuries. The fifth-round pick has been effective at the professional level since signing out of the University of Maine, but failed to receive a qualifying offer from the Canucks who were looking to move in a different direction.
In Los Angeles, Hutton joins a group that is just looking to start moving in the right direction. His one-year deal lines him up with nearly the entire rest of the defense corps, as only Drew Doughty and Alec Martinez have any type of term on their deals. Derek Forbort, Paul Ladue and Joakim Ryan will all join Hutton in unrestricted free agency again next summer, giving the team some potential trade bait at the deadline if they are out of the race once again.
Going to the Kings gives Hutton the potential to play in the top-four once again, and perhaps even with a partner like Doughty if the team decides to go that route. For a player trying to rebuild his value that’s not a terrible situation to be in. We ranked Hutton 38th among our Top 50 UFAs this summer, predicting he would land a two-year deal with the Kings.