All Hutton in Buffalo
By Patrick Hoffman
Every sports fan loves an underdog story, especially when it comes to particular players.
In Buffalo, the Sabres now have a true underdog guy in goaltender Carter Hutton. The club signed him to a 3-year on the first day of free agency.
Hutton, 32, has spent most of his career as back-up netminer with the Predators and Blues. That kind of changed last year when he started 32 games due to the lack of consistency starter Jake Allen showed much of last year.
In all, Hutton played 32 games and won 17 games and posted a 2.09 GAA with a .931 save percentage, and 3 shutouts. While it may have been just 32 games, his strong play while Allen had trouble finding his game kept the Blues in the playoff hunt. Yes, the Blues ultimately missed the postseason last year, but it wasn't by much thanks to Hutton.
Age should not be a concern when it comes to Hutton. He may be in his 30's but he's only played in 138 games. This means that he should have a lot of mileage left to show the Sabres that he can be the answer for them between the pipes.
Hutton is also someone that could end up being a good mentor to Linus Ullmark, who could end up being the future for the team in goal. Ullmark will be 25 later this month and with a guy like Hutton, who is relaxed, experienced, and supportive, he could end up excelling whether it is with the Sabres or somewhere else down the line.
This is a big opportunity for Hutton to show the rest of the league that he can be a starter. Obviously, some goaltenders, especially Scott darling of the Carolina Hurricanes, have struggled to make the transition, but something tells me that things will be different Hutton.
There is a ton of excitement in Buffalo. They have a solid offensive roster, a special defense in Rasmus Dahlin, a healthy Jack Eichel with his new number 9, and a fan base that has been extremely supportive despite the fact that they have not made the playoffs since the 2009-10 season.
Hopefully, Hutton shines and gets the Sabres back into a position where they can compete for a playoff spot in a very tough Atlantic Division.
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.