Speaking with Annelin today, Hutton had the following to say on his decision:
Honestly, I’ve been preparing myself for hockey to be over in some aspect for a while… The NHL has evolved into a young man’s league. The average age is now in the early 20s, so I know that this job wouldn’t be a lifelong one for me. Ultimately, I suffered an ankle injury in early 2021, which made the decision a lot easier for me. It restricted a lot of the mobility I needed to be as effective as I once was. This, compiled with a few other things helped me decide on retirement.
The news isn’t surprising in any aspect. Hutton appeared in just three games at the beginning of the season with the Arizona Coyotes, earning a 0-2-0 record and .741 save percentage. He spent the majority of the rest of the season injured before he was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs ahead of the trade deadline for injury insurance there, but the team loaned him back to the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners. He did spend a few days at Leafs practice, however.
An undrafted free agent, Hutton had a long and arduous path to NHL success. Hutton spent four years developing at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell before signing an entry-level contract with the San Jose Sharks for 2010-11. Hutton was the backup for the AHL affiliate in Worcester that season, posting a .902 save percentage. A restricted free agent, he was left unqualified and settled for an AHL contract with the Rockford IceHogs in 2011-12.
Strong play there got him an NHL contract later in the season and again with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2012-13, when he made his NHL debut at age 27. As an unrestricted free agent in 2013, the Nashville Predators snapped up Hutton in free agency, where he broke into the NHL and never looked back. After stops with the Predators, St. Louis Blues, Buffalo Sabres, and Coyotes, Hutton retires with a career 94-90-27 record in 235 games played (207 starts), .908 save percentage, and 2.76 goals-against average, and 13 shutouts. For an undrafted free agent who wasn’t a full-time NHLer until 28, it’s an improbable and impressive resumé.