Gary A. Vasquez - USA TODAY Sports
2020-21 Trade Deadline

Toronto Maple Leafs acquire defenceman Ben Hutton from the Anaheim Ducks for a 5th-round pick

The Toronto Maple Leafs shrank from yesterday's posture as the league's foremost buyer, settling instead for blue line depth on the final day of the deadline, and leaving with defenceman Ben Hutton. They sent a fifth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft to the Anaheim Ducks to make it happen.

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.

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.

(Editor's note: The Leafs also acquired Antti Suomela from the San Jose Sharks for Alexander Barabanov)

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NHL 2020-21 Trade Deadline Anaheim Ducks Toronto Maple Leafs NHL Ben Hutton
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