Photo Credit: NHL.com

Report: Hutton might not be qualified

With the deadline to provide restricted free agents qualifying offers coming up at 2 PM tomorrow, everyone has focused their attention to some of the pending restricted free agents that the Canucks have.

Rick Dhaliwal with Sportsnet 650 was busy this afternoon providing the updates.

It’s important to remember that this is what Rick has heard at this moment and things could change between now and 2 PM tomorrow.

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So, let’s start with Ben Hutton.

There have been various reports over the last few weeks that the Canucks might not qualify Ben Hutton as they are concerned that he will take them to arbitration and they would be unable to walk away from the awarded salary. As Rick mentions, if it is under $4.4M per season, they would have to accept the deal.

Thus they may explore the avenue of not qualifying Hutton.

They did a similar thing with Derrick Pouliot last season as they were concerned about the same issue but were able to come to a new deal with him prior to July 1st. The issue is that once that deadline passes, the players can speak to other teams and could very well just leave.

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It feels like the Canucks are about to give up an asset for nothing while worrying about a cap issue that shouldn’t be a concern. Hutton isn’t a fantastic player but does provide value to their group and letting him walk with nothing come back would seem a bit misguided.

Things could change between now and the deadline, as they could find a deal to move his rights, which is something that Dhaliwal mentioned:

Furthermore, the report may not be true and they do provide him with a QO by tomorrow, as they did with Pouliot, or agree to a new deal.

Dhaliwal provided two more updates this afternoon

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This isn’t too surprising as the Canucks management group appeared ready to have Goldobin back and work with him to continue to be part of the solution here. The Canucks need more offensive depth and letting Goldobin walk at this point would be counterintuitive.

Boucher spent most of last season in Utica as their top line winger and that is likely what they envision for him next year. He has seen some games at the NHL level but clearly lacks the foot speed to be a regular and instead slots in as a depth forward to help the kids in Utica and then play in the NHL in a pinch.

It will be interesting to see how the next 24 hours plays out with Hutton as it’s clear that the Canucks want to make changes to the backend.

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There is no disagreeing with the fact that they need to make those changes but letting a player like Hutton for nothing isn’t the best look for an organization that isn’t rife with assets.

  • DJ_44

    I am less concerned with not tendering a QO with Ben. I would sign him for 1 year at 2.8 (just because that was what he made last year).

    He should not be in the future plans: on the Left side Edler is 1st pair, Hughes is 2nd pair, Sautner/Briesbois 3rd pair. Juolevi can come up in December.

    I was hyper critical of Hutton’s play a season ago, and the year before that (and rightly so). He raised his level of play slightly last year, but it is not a service Sautner or Briesbois cannot provide.

    • Dissin_Terry

      Your “(and rightly so)” nearly made me spit out my fruit loops. Must be great to self confirm all of your opinions via brackets. What a genius you are (I’m being facetious.)

      • DJ_44

        Think whatever (I really do not care). The comment was less of self-confirmation, and more leading into the next statement that complimented Hutton’s improvement over last season, which I acknowledged especially after being hyper critical the seasons before (and rightly so).

        • CamBurke

          Hahaha…. always the kiss of death to read any joke post talking Canucks D from the same bottomfeeder clown who has championed Holm, Larsen, Pedan, Guddy, Poulliot, Tryamkin and MDZ as Canucks blueline beasts… and i have the quotes to prove it… laughers like this…

          “I also shake my head regarding the lack of respect Loui receives. If you watch the game, he is easily a top six on any team in league.” – DJ_44


  • North Van Halen

    Death by a thousand cuts.

    I wouldn’t want to pay Ben Hutton $4.2 mil either but this habit of minimizing their assets just seems too common. With every 1st, 3rd and Hutton that walks out the door, the margin of error gets slimmer and slimmer.
    Finding a free agent to replace Ben shouldn’t be all that hard for the same cost but surely he could have fetched a 3rd at the trade deadline, if they’d actually seen this coming. This is another one of the many small moves that, when added up, will lead to the (deserved) end of the Benning era if the team isn’t looking ‘real good’ by the trade deadline

    • Locust

      A 3rd for Hutton – sorry, not a chance.
      Being critical of every management decision while thinking every pick is going to be “the next one” and every fringe prospect should be gobbled up ‘cuz they can ‘turn it around’ here is ludicrous.
      The first line is directed at you Mr Van Halen, the rest is directed at everybody.

        • Bud Poile

          Ben averaged 2.75 goals per season as a Canuck.
          MDZ averaged 5 goals per season as a Canuck.
          6th rounder for MDZ and nobody will take Big Ben off the books as we know the Canucks have been talked to every team in the league endless times.

      • Goon

        Hutton scored 20 points and played over 22 minutes a night on average. He was played as a first-pairing LD. He had a negative corsi rel, but that’s because he was played too much against the best competition – the past two seasons he’s been a positive relative possession player.

        Until Quinn Hughes or Olli Juolevi actually prove something at the NHL level, Hutton remains the second best LD (or best when the inevitable Edler injury hits) on the team, and he is *absolutely* worth at minimum a 3rd round pick.

        It is absolutely worth overpaying $750,000 to an RFA compared to overpaying $3 million for a UFA.

        • TD

          I would have agreed about Hutton being #2 until Hughes’ 5 game trial. He clearly showed he’s better than Hutton. Even if, and it’s a big if, he’s not better defensively, Hughes offence makes up for any difference in the other aspects.

          At the same time, Hutton will have value at the trade deadline.

    • Alex G

      It’s quite tiring reading all these comments (not just here) questioning/complaining why the Canucks didn’t trade Hutton at the trade deadline for a least a pick. The answer is quite simple. Both Tanev (Feb 15-Mar 11) and Edler (Feb 5-27) were injured, and they were 4 only points out of a playoff spot at that time (Feb 25 deadline), with one of the easiest schedules left in the league. There probably isn’t a GM in the league that would have traded Hutton at the TDL.

      Benning hasn’t done a great job at times with asset management, but to complain about not trading getting a pick at the TDL makes little sense.

      • Captain Video

        No, any GM without a crack addiction could see that with those injuries the Canucks weren’t a playoff team at the deadline and would have shipped out Hutton if the plan wasn’t to make him a qualifying offer. If Hutton is allowed to walk for nothing then it shows a fundamental lack of planning, foresight and understanding of how to manage assets by Benning and his staff.

        • Alex G

          First, so you think after battling hard through injuries up to that point that it was OK to have the team move forward with Stetcher, Schenn, Pouliot, Biega, Sautner and Brisbois as the D corp. Yikes! Even if the playoffs were a big long shot, the rest of the team didn’t deserve to be left with that ugly scenario. Terrible message to the whole team being hung out to dry and a morale killer. Glad you are not my GM if I was a player.

          Second, it’s unclear if they already knew at that time that Hutton would not be qualified. He did not play well the last 6 weeks of the season. Clearly they don’t like what they think he might get in arbitration, and are prepared to look at other options, including resigning him for less as an UFA.

    • DJ_44

      Not sure what you mean by “trading a qualifying offer”. The QO has to be $2.8M, if Hutton does not accept that, he has the right to choose to go to arbitration.

      If they do not tender the QO, then Hutton is a UFA (maybe that does not become official until July 1st). Just like Pouliot was and will be again.

      • wojohowitz

        There is no walking away from an arbitrators ruling. They go that route they are locked in. The alternative is an agreed upon negotiated contract that includes free agency. In Hutton`s case maybe a one year deal for $3.3m

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    I hate it when the Canucks lose assets for nothing. Just shows incompetence by Management. Canucks have lost too many players like Hamhuis, Thomas Vanek, Sam Gagner for nothing.

    • TD

      I don’t like losing assets either, but the fans tend to over value the Canuck’s assets. As for you list, Hamhuis refused to waive until there was little to no value, Vanek returned Tyler Motte and Garner returned an equally useless player in Spooner. There isn’t much of a market for bad players signed when no one else wanted them.

      • Puck Viking

        There was value. The story was the Canucks took to long to accept the deal so they moved on. They should have approached hamhuis months in advance not 2 days before the deadline

        • DJ_44

          The story was the Canucks took to long to accept the deal so they moved on.

          Is that the story now. Hamhuis agree to two teams (rumor was Canucks want to deal with Pittsburgh — along with other eastern teams but Dan refused). He agree to Chicago and Dallas. Chicago choose to use assets on forwards. Dallas choose Russell. There was questions with respect to Van asking more out of Dallas hence the Russell decision, we will never know.

    • Duke Hauser

      It amazes me that there are so many that think Benning is a competent G.M.He says he has a plan but he continually shows he has no clue other than throwing darts at a wall.

  • Goon

    Let’s hope this is just a bunch of sound and fury signifying nothing. I’ll be upset that the Canucks lose Hutton for nothing if it actually happens. Until then, no sense worrying.

  • Captain Video

    Given the Canucks’ weakness on the blue line, it would be nutty not to qualify Hutton. He may not be in the Club’s long term plans depending on how Hughes and Juolevi develop, but for the next season (or at least until the trade deadline) he’s pretty essential.

    • Bud Poile

      The weakness is RHD.
      The LHD position is loaded with vets and prospects.
      Edler,Hughes,Juolevi and an RFA.
      Tryamkin,Rathbone,Utunen,Sautner,Brisebois and Teves.

      • CamBurke

        Yawnnnnn Dud… you mean like the best Canucks D-corp in franchise history, the legendary 2011 team helmed by NHL GM of the year Mike Gillis.

        The team that had only 2 RHD, so LHD Ehrhoff played his OFFSIDE and was our best D performer in the regular season and playoffs.

        Get over it, move on and stfu about this non issue…

          • CamBurke

            Zzzzzzz Tell us Dud, Benning… an NHL D man himself, has had FIVE YEARS to move on from the now aging top pairing of Edler-Tanev gifted to him…how is he doing?

            Off you go #fakenews troll, tail between legs. Fuming.

  • kermit

    Is there a minimum term for qualifying offers? Why not give him the $4.4 for one year? It’s like buying insurance until they know what they have in Juolevi. It’s better than having him walk for nothing.

    • KGR

      It is my understanding that in arbitration he can be awarded a one or two year contract. Not sure which side chooses the length. He cannot be traded for at least the first year. I believe the minimum for a Qualifying offer is Salary plus 10%.

  • Kanuckhotep

    The fact that neither Ben nor Luke Schenn have not been resigned/signed leaves one to believe Benning has his sights set on some FA signing, one with acceptable NHL experience. If this was not the case they would have inked these guys by now but has not. Please, no Myers and don’t want Gardiner either.

  • speering major

    Ship him off to the oilers for Sekera and Jesse P

    The oilers save over a million in cap space and get a younger D man that can play a full season. Canucks get a bad 2 year contract that saves JB from UFA disasters and a project with upside in J.P

  • Gino's 3rd Cousin

    If this is true, goodbye Smilin’ Ben. I enjoyed your cross ice hits of which there were far too few. I had high hopes for him in his rookie year and hope he gets a chance with another team.

  • Hutton isn’t worth what he thinks he is. However, the Canucks should make a 100% qualifying offer and go to arbitration if Hutton doesn’t accept the QO. This buys time (another month?) to find a trade partner while everyone figures out what they can do under the lower cap. As for arbitration, since Hutton would be electing arbitration, the Canucks get to pick one vs. two years. Let’s run with 2 years since Hutton is UFA after next season (age 27). Then we have two options: the arbitrator awards an amount closer to what Hutton wants – not sure what the cut-off is ($3.5M?) but if it’s over, THEN we walk. If the deal is less than the cut-off, victory and Hutton is stuck here for another two years.

    Walking away from a young, cost-controlled bottom-4 defender for nothing is just plain stupid.

        • DJ_44

          Not the case. Hutton award will reflect, among other things, minutes played and the fact he was used on the 2nd pairing.

          This type of thing happens; Calgary a couple of years ago did the exact same thing with Joe Colbourne who went on a scoring spree post TDL and his arb award would have been inflated (say 3.5M for argument sake). Calgary did not qualify, he went UFA and signed in Colorado for $2.5M

  • Hockey Bunker

    Too much to pay for a #7 d-man. If they can get him for 1.5 or less then okay as an insurance policy. Otherwise there are better or cheaper options. It’s called making progress. Can’t improve the D by bringing back the same players every year.

  • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

    More quality asset management by Mr. Jim “maximize value” Benning who less than 2 yrs ago refused to include Hutton in a deal for Tyson Barrie thereby quashing the deal. Clap clap clap Jimbo!