Comments / New

Bottom Six Minutes: Lane Hutson introduces himself to the NHL

Apr 15, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Montreal Canadiens defenseman Lane Hutson (48) skates with the puck in the first period against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

With the chance to play spoiler being all they have left this season, the Montreal Canadiens travelled to Michigan on Monday night. With the Detroit Red Wings desperately needing a win, the Habs nearly did play spoiler, but surrendered a 4-1 second-period lead to eventually lose the game in overtime, preserving Detroit’s playoff hopes. At the very least, it was an entertaining penultimate game to watch for Habs fans.

And of course, the presence of Lane Hutson in his first NHL game was a big part of the entertainment factor.

This was Lane Hutson’s first touch of the puck in the offensive zone of his career, and it ended with his first point. He walks the line, in a flash gains the outside with a look at the net, and his shot ends up giving Brendan Gallagher an easy one in the slot. This was a hallmark of his game at the NCAA level – shifty skating and puck handling at the blue line opening up a myriad of offensive opportunities. To see him do this in his first NHL game can only increase the excitement that the fan base has about his future.

There were some positional issues to his game, to be sure, but if those are the only issues after just one practice with the team, there is plenty of reason to be excited about his future. His dynamic abilities with the puck were never in question, and if they can coach him up to be more soundly positioned moving forward, those abilities will truly be able to shine.

Even with some positional concerns, he managed a very respectable 61.16% expected goals-for at even strength. True though it may be that some of his shifts saw scoring chances against that he was responsible for, they won the scoring chance race overall when he was on the ice. This isn’t an easy thing to accomplish debuting as a top-four defender, and playing against a Detroit side that were incredibly desperate for a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

As much as he might like a win in his first game, it went about as well as he could expect. If this is Lane Hutson in game one, just imagine what he might look like when he has some real NHL experience under his belt.

Click the play button below to listen to your full Bottom Six Minutes, also available wherever you get your podcasts. We will be back tonight, for the last time this season, when the Habs will complete their home-and-home at the Bell Centre against Detroit.

Support Habs Eyes On The Prize by signing up for Norton 360