The free agent period is now more than three weeks old and several interesting names remain unsigned. While Jake Gardiner is the top defenseman left on the open market, Ben Hutton is another option that would be much cheaper for a team closer to the cap. That might be why Luke Fox of Sportsnet reports that there is “strong interest from multiple teams” in Hutton, even at this later stage of free agency.
Hutton, 26, actually ranked 38th on our list of the Top 50 UFAs this year, thanks almost entirely to the huge role that he has played on the Vancouver Canucks the last several years. While he hasn’t shown very well in advanced statistics, the left-handed defenseman has averaged over 20 minutes a night through his four-year career including a whopping 22:21 per game in 2018-19. Hutton registered 20 points in 69 games last season with the Canucks and has 70 in his career, but is also a -75 as he and the rest of the team haven’t had much success during that time.
The Canucks decided not to qualify Hutton as a restricted free agent, an offer that would have been worth $2.8MM.