Nashville Predators Grades: Carter Hutton the Backup

Nashville Predators goalie Carter Hutton (30) makes a save. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators goalie Carter Hutton (30) makes a save. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

The Nashville Predators know that a backup goaltender is important.

The Nashville Predators have one of the best goaltenders in the league in Pekka Rinne, and as we all know Peks is a work horse. He’s the guy who you’ll see in net most of the season, but the question is who’s backing him up? Carter Hutton has been the backup goaltender to Pekka for the last three seasons, although in his first year he was the prominent starter while Pekka was out for most of the season.

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Hutton has been a serviceable backup, but with his contract up what should the Nashville Predators do? Do they resign him, sign someone in free agency, or bring up one of the youngsters? During the end of the season press conference David Poile made the statement that they spoke to Carter and his agent about a contract renewal, so it sounds like Poile has the desire to bring him back to the team.

The job of a backup goaltender is to provide competition for the starter and to be able to step in and let the starter rest during different points in the regular season. Let’s take a look at what Carter Hutton’s season was like for the Nashville Predators this year.

2015-2016 regular-season stats:

17 games played, 15 games started, 7 wins, 5 losses, 4 overtime losses, 464 shots against, 38 goals against, 2.33 goals against average, 426 saves, .918 save percentage, and 2 shutouts.

Without a lot of games under his belt this year, its a little tough to say his win-loss record should define how he played. Remember The Predators went through a rough patch during the season. The whole team wasn’t at their best and you can’t always point to the goalie for losses.

Being at a couple of the games that Hutton played this year I can say he gave it his all every night.


Carter Hutton has shown several times since he’s been a Pred that he can make those gritty saves and the highlight saves.

Remember this beauty back from his first year as a Pred. After a strange bounce behind the net that gave a Flyers forward a wide open net, Hutton was able to quickly get back and make a huge glove save.

Last year he had a Save of the Year kind of takeaway from Toronto. Hut’s had the awareness that the puck slipped past him, and he then quickly whipped his stick back to knock out the puck. That was huge since the Preds were holding onto just a one goal lead.

Coast-to-coast save this year against the Panthers

For a backup like Carter, it’s great seeing him put in the effort every game, from the first to the third period.

One thing most people don’t think about as a backup is keeping the starter in the game mentally. In interviews or in the Nashville Predators season series “Beneath the Ice”, Pekka Rinne has talked about how Carter has been helpful to him during rough periods of play.

When you let a couple of tough goals slip by its important to have a teammate who can keep you calm and collective. It’s easy to let mistakes start to bog you down where more mistakes will start to slip into your mind. Having Hutton, whose friendship with Peks is obvious, bringing him back into the game like that is huge.


One of the things that worries me most about having Hutton behind Peks, is the level of competition. I know Pekka is a workhorse, but now that he’s starting to get older in age you wonder how many more 60 to 70 games a season can he play. Competition is key to keeping starters on edge and keep them from feeling too comfortable, and I worry if Hutton can keep that competitive fire going between him and Pekka.

The injury bug is something that has plagued Pekka Rinne more times than not, and we saw a glimpse of what Hutton could do if Pekka was out for a long period of time. Hutton’s first season was exactly that. Not only do I worry whether he can push Pekka, but I worry if we can rely on him for a full season or half a season if something ever happened to Rinne.

There’s no doubt he would go all out for his teammates, but I would wonder if that’s enough. You root for a guy like Carter, a fan favorite for some, but how reliable is he when it comes down to needing him more often than 17 games.

Grade: B-

I like Carter Hutton and it seems like David Poile does too otherwise I doubt he would be pursuing him and his agent to get him signed. I believe Hutton is a reliable goalie when called upon, but I’d be curious to see if he gets a bigger load this next season than what he is used to. My opinion, unless Carter looks elsewhere, I think the Nashville Predators should keep Cater around at least one more year.

Next: Nashville Predators Back Up Goalie is Important

I like the goalies in Milwaukee and soon it will be their time to join the club, but right now I think Hutton is a good match for the team.