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Lane Hutson has his eyes set on getting even better after a brilliant freshman season

Despite being one of the standouts at Montreal Canadiens development camp, and having one of the best seasons for a Canadiens prospect in some time, one of the first things Lane Hutson said was that he wants to get even better.

That might be music to the ears of Canadiens staff and fans, and nightmare fuel for pretty much everyone else.

A season that started with him making his NCAA debut ended with him putting up record numbers, and playing a regular shift at the men’s World Championship.

“Playing at [the NCAA level], it’s obviously a fun level to play at. You get stronger guys and finding different ways to defend using your feet and your stick. That’s something I felt like I’ve gotten better at throughout the year and I’m going to continue to get better at hopefully.”

Hutson’s focus on defence when talking about his own game shows how important being solid at both ends of the ice is to him. His offensive and transition talents are well known, and he had one of the best offensive seasons for a defenceman in recent history. When you look at players his age in their freshman season, it stands out as unique. His 48 points broke Brian Leetch’s record for a U19 blue-liner that lasted for 35 years.

If Hutson represents the future on the left side of the Canadiens’ blue line, David Reinbacher represents the right. It was fitting, then, that they served as a pair for most of the team’s camp.

“He’s a funny guy,” Hutson said about his first impressions of Reinbacher. “He’s pretty reserved, but he’s actually a really good player, really good with his stick and his body and a really great guy.”

It may have been their first meeting, but it wasn’t their first encounter. Reinbacher told a story of Hutson’s incredible goal at the men’s worlds against Austria, a game Reinbacher missed with injury.

“It’s pretty funny. We were talking about that the other day,” Hutson said. “He was like, ‘I was in the stands and saw it. I couldn’t believe that you just scored that goal and I was sitting there.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I mean, it was really lucky. The puck just kind of stuck with me, and I got a stick in there and the goalie played it a little weird.’ But yeah, it was pretty funny.”

Arpon Basu of The Athletic pointed out that Hutson seems to have lucky plays pretty often, to which he could only laugh and shrug.

At the World Championship, Hutson was one of the younger players on the team, and worked with a NHL head coach in David Quinn, who coached Team USA.

“He was telling me just play my game,” Hutson said. “One thing in particular is that things are coming fast out there, so it’s better to make the play that you see right away, rather than trying to make the home-run play. And that’s something that I definitely learned there and something that he was stressing to me, and it meant a lot.”

Much is made of Hutson’s height. He is listed 5’9″ or 5’10” depending on the source. While it is a constant conversation point surrounding him, he himself is not overly concerned.

“I think people are gonna have opinions,” Hutson says. “Either way, I’ll be at 5’9″, 5’10”, or whatever. And I won’t be a certain weight and people are going to comment on that. So either way, I just kind of focus on what I’m doing. And when you get on the ice, I think everyone is the same size.”

As he goes back to Boston University for his sophomore season, he will look to improve his all-around game. His focus is getting the Terriers back to the NCAA Frozen Four, and to do that he’ll look to round out his already impressive game, and should play a big role for Team USA at the World Juniors in Sweden.

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