Toronto Maple Leafs acquire defenceman Ben Hutton from the Anaheim Ducks for a 5th-round pick
Hutton, 27, joined the Ducks on a PTO (professional tryout) back in January, and he left a good enough impression to leave with a one-year, $950,000 contract to call his own. As colleague JFresh pointed out at the time, there was cause for optimism that the partnership might prove fruitful, and it has done just that.
He's played sparingly for the Ducks since, averaging about 18 minutes a night in his 34 games, and leaving with five points (a goal and four assists) for his effort. Better still, Anaheim turns naught but a contract spot into a material asset for their rebuild.
Ben Hutton, acquired by TOR, is a fine bottom pairing penalty kill specialist. Predictably saw his numbers dip back down after a crazy bump last year but a serviceable player. #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/FOTPiLvV4K— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) April 12, 2021
It seems reasonable enough to believe that Hutton's profile fits with what the Leafs needed from someone in a depth position; I mean, they identified and traded for him, right? He has a history of sterling microdata, whether expressed with zone entries or neutral zone defence, and he's settled nicely into a defensive posture since leaving Vancouver.
It's going to take a few injuries for Hutton to crack the Leafs' lineup, so the hope is that his mettle is never tested in Maple Leafs blue anyway. Then again, the NHL playoffs are nothing if not a war of attrition. I wouldn't rule it out. They could've done a lot worse.