Goaltender Carter Hutton has been re-signed to a two-year deal by the Nashville Predators.
Set to become an unrestricted free agent (UFA) on July 1, the 28-year-old netminder will remain a part of Nashville’s goaltender tandem for the next pair of seasons (at $700,000 next season and $750,000 in 2015-2016). The Predators are in line to have their most experienced duo in goal this fall for the first time in several seasons.
The stats may read that Hutton is a 20-game winner–an impressive total for a backup–but there’s a lot more to his story than what the numbers bring to the forefront. Holding only a single game of NHL experience prior to the 2013-2014 season, the Ontario native grew by leaps and bounds after being thrust into the spotlight this campaign.
“It’s over time that you learn how to be [even-keeled],” Hutton explained a few months ago. “I went to college for several years and didn’t turn pro until I was 24. Then I played three years in the minors. So I’ve dealt with a lot of success and failures over that time. The mental side of it really comes into effect and I think being a little mature before I hit this stage of my career, helps me out.”
It would be over-beautifying the past to say Hutton took the opportunity and ran with it from the very beginning; but in the end, he did develop into a capable starting goaltender over the course of the season. Under the right tutelage and training, Hutton went from an unknown to an asset of the club.
In February, former Predators head coach Barry Trotz explained that Hutton had won him over; a position Trotz didn’t hold in the goaltender’s earlier tenure in net.
“That’s what we envisioned Hutton being able to do. Come in and play every four games or something and give us a quality start, but he’s been able to do a lot more than that. He’s a battler. He’s worked hard on his game and that’s where you have to give credit to [Predators goaltender coach] Mitch Korn. He’s done a great job with him. I think if you talk to any goalie, they’ll tell you that Mitch pushes them to be the best they can be. And give them an opportunity to do something in this league,” Trotz said.
In a sense, Hutton has long had to prove his worth at the NHL level and he did that multiple times last season. First outlasting Marek Mazanec in net and then performing better than Devan Dubnyk (after he was brought in via trade), Hutton showed he belongs at hockey’s highest level.
The goaltender has truly earned the extension he signed today. He and Rinne should be a formidable tandem in goal for the next two years.