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Photo Credit: NHL.com

Ben Hutton is drawing interest in free agency

The deadline to tender qualifying offers to restricted free agents came and went with the Canucks opting to let defenceman Ben Hutton, among others, hit the open market.

Hutton, the former fifth-round pick who has spent his past four seasons with the Canucks, will now be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career. According to Rick Dhaliwal, Hutton is drawing interest from other teams on the open market.

Of course, just because the Canucks opted not to qualify Hutton doesn’t mean they can’t bring him back as a free agent. Had they qualified him and he accepted, Hutton would have seen his cap hit increase from $2.8 million to a cap hit worth a shade over $3 million. It also would have allowed Hutton to go to arbitration, which could have seen him end up with a cap hit north of $4 million given where ranked among Canucks defenders in ice time.

Hutton has become somewhat of a fan favourite in Vancouver for doing things like playing through a cyst the size of a baseball on his foot, so it would be unfortunate to see him end up with a different team. While letting Hutton walk for nothing isn’t great asset management, signing a third-pairing defender to a contract worth somewhere in the realm of $4 million isn’t ideal either.

  • Awesome that a rebuilding team can afford to let young assets walk into UFA. Lack of basic understanding on how an overpayment will lead to an escalation of salary when a player starts to obtain arbitration rights. That said, if the comparables point to an arbitrator awarding a $4 million contract, does that not mean that Hutton is playing at a level worthy of the award? Be interested in how much another team pays to retain his services and how he performs away from this gong show.

  • Given that the Canucks’ other options on the left are a 34-year-old veteran and two rookies, I think it’s almost certain that if Hutton comes back, he’s going to spend most of the year as the 2nd-pairing LHD, with some potential time as the #1, depending on injuries and the play of Hughes and Juolevi.

    That is certainly worth $3-$4 million per year. You’re not going to find a halfway-competent UFA LHD to play in your top-four for any less, that’s for sure.

    • There’s an excellent chance that the top two LHDs will in short order be Edler and Hughes. And a reasonable chance that Juolevi is vying for the 3rd spot.

      Not guaranteed, though, and there’s the risk. And should when Edler get injured, the Canucks will be in tough.

  • The agent sure is doing a lot of talking as far as the cyst on his foot I am not sure anyone knew about that I know I did not hear until his agent was on the radio. Hope he stays with the Canucks for a cheaper price when he was signed he was showing some good signs that he was going to be quite a defense man but then he just tumbled and was not very good. No other team wanted to trade for him and likely won’t have an awful lot of interest as a free agent.

    • Why would another team trade for him, particularly in the off season when they know that if they add him he can go to arbitration, and that Benning is likely to let him test the market so that he can try to resign him at a lower price?