Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Boston Bruins Prospect Series: #15 Michael Hutchinson

Michael Hutchinson, G
6-3, 190
March 2, 1990
Catches: Right
Boston's 3rd choice, 77th overall in 2008 Draft
Signing status: Signed through 2013 (unless he returns to junior for another season; 2014)

Talent Analysis

Physical: Big, lean frame takes up a lot of the net. Excellent size and athleticism for the position. Still adding muscle and mass to his body, but will be able to stand up well to net-crashers and heavy traffic outside his crease. Quick, instinctive goalie who is a prototype player for the modern age. Moves well laterally and goes down into a compact butterfly. Recovery from the down position is very good. Quick pads; stays square to the shooter and is tough to beat down low. Could stand to improve economy of motion and positioning. The rare right-handed catcher; pretty good glove hand. Good puckhandler who can clear the puck himself or move it up to the 'D' quickly. An all-around physical specimen who has the look of a good, solid NHL netminder one day but who still needs to tweak and refine his game. He had a solid, productive year with the Knights, but might return to junior for an overage year if Boston can't find room for him on the farm.

Intangibles: One of the nicest kids you'll meet; relaxed and personable-- genuinely enjoys playing the position. Can get into a zone and is nearly unbeatable when he does. Earned a third-round draft grade when he stoned the heavily-favored Brampton Battalion in the '08 playoffs while a member of the Barrie Colts. Handled the pressure of playing in London last season well enough, but consistency is still the biggest shortcoming in his game. Needs to find an element of intensity and focus and build on it, as he's skilled enough to be a player at the next level.

Boston Bruins 2010 Development Camp assessment

Hutch was the best of Boston's four goalies at the D-Camp, but in all honesty, that isn't saying a great deal. He got much better as the week went along, which is reflective in the challenge that the goalies face in terms of coming into camp cold, without having had the benefit of facing a lot of shots, getting down their timing and having had months since facing game situations. He was shaky early, but by the second and third day of scrimmages, was on his game pretty well and showed off some promise.


As things stand right now, it appears that Hutchinson has the makings of a solid backup at the NHL level. His fundamentals are sound, but he is still a long way off from seriously competing for an NHL job and could see another year in the OHL (as an overager) followed by several more in the minors after that. One factor that could influence whether the Bruins to bring Hutchinson to the pros or keep him in the OHL is that London spent a pick on a goaltender (Anaheim '09 third-rounder) in Russian Igor Bobkov during last month's CHL Import Draft. Splitting the duties in London probably isn't the best situation for both goalies or with last year's backup Michael Houser in the mix, so there could be another trade looming. If he can address some of the consistency that's been lacking in his game over the past couple of seasons, he has a chance to open some eyes, because there are no real physical flaws there. He's a middle-tier prospect who has the potential to move up on the depth chart because of the things he does so well, but after seeing Tuukka Rask in the Boston system over the past several years, there is a clear distinction with Hutchinson in terms of ability and upside: he's a cut below.


“I think that each year coming to these I feel more relaxed. This year I came in and right from the start, I felt really comfortable with the speed of the shots and the speed of everything, so I didn’t have that adjustment period for the first couple of days this year. I feel really good about the progress I’ve made so far.”- Michael Hutchinson to hockeyjournal.com, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010

“My goal is not to be back in junior hockey next year. So I’m going to do everything I can this summer to help me take the step to the next level.”- Michael Hutchinson to hockeyjournal.com, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010

“They’re at the biggest disadvantage. They’ve been off their teams and haven’t seen shots n game situations for an extended period of time. They have to knock some rust off. The shooters have the advantage.”- Bruins assistant GM Don Sweeney, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010

The Final Word
A long-term developmental project for the Bruins, Hutch has a shot at playing one day so long as he's willing to be patient. He was not a highly-touted prospect in his draft year, but came off the board pretty early because of the kind of potential he showed in stoning the Cody Hodgson-led Battalion that spring. He's had to overcome a pretty mediocre 08-09 season, where he split the work pretty evenly with Peter Di Salvo, and he did that by winning 32 games as a Knight and posting his best goals against average (2.86) as an OHL regular. Hutchinson is an interesting prospect to watch, but he doesn't have the kind of pure potential that Rask did, and so he'll have a lot of work ahead of him if he's going to make it to the NHL and stay there.

1 comment:

  1. Pretty bang on Kirk. If there is one thing i dont like about Hutch is that he plays with no emotion. If he would sometimes let the emotion show through, it might lite a fire in him. I remember a game this season where he had let in 6 goals by the end of the 2nd period. I was directly behind the Knights bench and when he was pulled, he came to the bench took off his mask and wiped his face and sat down, showing absolutely no emotion. He didnt even give Houser the customary tap on the pads or the behind you see most times.

    Now it wasnt his fault that they were behind like that, but a little bt of emotion in that case could lite a fire in his teammates. Maybe its just me, but i'd like to see some in that case.