Although his signing in the offseason didn’t generate a lot of buzz, Blues backup goalie Carter Hutton has played a significant role for the team lately, writes Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. With starter Jake Allen battling inconsistency at times, St. Louis has had to rely on Hutton more often than they originally anticipated.
To say that he has lived up to expectations would be an understatement, especially lately. Over his last eight starts, he has recorded four shutouts (matching his career total heading into the season) and has played a big role in the Blues getting themselves back into a top three spot in the Central Division.
With Allen returning to form lately, it’s likely that he will go back to getting the bulk of the starts but if he falters again or is injured, Hutton’s recent stretch should give them confidence if they need to turn to him again.
Elsewhere in the Central:
- While it’s not a role he would have been happy with too long ago, Blackhawks right winger Marian Hossa is comfortable as a third liner in Chicago, notes Mark Lazarus of the Chicago Sun-Times. Not only does him being there mean that they have the potential for three quality scoring lines, the 38 year old can certainly benefit from seeing a bit less ice time from a rest perspective. The cut in playing time hasn’t really slowed him down as Hossa has nine points in his last 12 games.
- Although there isn’t a whole lot to play for in Colorado, that isn’t the case for goalie Calvin Pickard, suggests Terry Frei of the Denver Post. With Semyon Varlamov out for the season with recurring groin problems and no proven backup behind him, Pickard has a prime opportunity to show he’s ready for a bigger workload next season. Further adding to the important of his play in the coming months, both netminders require protection for the expansion draft in June and the Avalanche will only be able to protect one of them.
- The NHL rescinded the game misconduct penalty assessed on Thursday to Wild right winger Nino Niederreiter, reports Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The decision is noteworthy as any player who receives two game misconducts for physical fouls within 41 games of each other is automatically suspended. By having this misconduct taken away, Niederreiter isn’t in danger of a guaranteed sit-down if he gets ejected for a physical foul in the next few months.