Early in September, the Arizona Coyotes made one last trade before the preseason began. They sent Christian Dvorak to the Montréal Canadiens in exchange for a conditional 2022 first-round pick and a 2024 second-round pick.
That pick was top ten protected, so instead of ending up with the first overall pick, the Coyotes acquired the Carolina Hurricanes' first-round pick, the 27th overall pick.
And with that pick in this mock draft, Five For Howling selects Lane Hutson of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program!
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Looking at the mock drafts this year, you will find something interesting. Of course, everyone agrees on who the top five are, but beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess for the next 30-40.
Lane Hutson is one of the more exciting prospects going into this draft. His size will scare away some teams, he is listed as 5’ 8” and 148 pounds, but there is no questioning that he could be a phenomenal player. And if Hutson were only three inches taller, you know he would be getting more attention going into this year’s draft.
Corey Pronman says he has the best hockey sense of the draft, ahead of Shane Wright and Logan Cooley, and he describes him as having ‘unicorn’ skills. Back in February, Wheeler wrote of Hutson:
“He’s a unique player who uses a light (though not powerful) stride to create entries and exits, weave past coverage, escape pressure, and find or create seams. He also sees the ice beautifully, regularly identifying plays a step ahead of the opposition.”
We don’t see a lot of smaller defensemen, but the game has changed a lot in the past few years, and it may continue to evolve. Look no further than this year’s Conn Smythe Trophy winner, Cale Makar. Makar is a few inches taller than Hutson, but he has shown that skill can make for size.
Hutson split last season between the USHL and the USDP. He had ten goals and 53 assists in 60 games with the U.S. National Under 18 Team and six goals and 26 assists in 27 games with the USNTDP Juniors team. The Under 18 World Junior Championship was the perfect stage for Hutson, who was named a member of the All-Star Team, the Best Defenseman, and one of the top three players on his team, as well as registering the most assists by a defenseman (8) in his silver medal campaign.
Either way, it will be a few years before Hutson makes the team. He is committed to Boston University, which is perfectly fine for the Coyotes.
Hutson is a risk, but with the number of draft picks the Coyotes’ have, he is a risk worth taking. He is a high-risk, high-reward pick, but he could definitely fill a role with the Desert Dogs.
The Coyotes need to restock their blue line, and Hutson seems like just the player to do that. A one-two punch of Victor Söderström and Lane Hutson could provide the Coyotes with a dangerous blue line that can make the other teams pay.
Picking Hutson at 27th overall is probably a reach, especially for a team like the Coyotes, who have seven picks in the top 45. But with no consensus on the prospects after fifth overall, why shouldn’t the Coyotes take a chance with a tremendous upside.