LA Kings: Door not closed on Ben Hutton with organization

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite acquiring Olli Maatta on Sunday, the LA Kings are reportedly in talks to bring Ben Hutton back next year.

Even before the news broke that the LA Kings had acquired Olli Maatta from the Chicago Blackhawks, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reported that the Kings and unrestricted free agent defenseman Ben Hutton were in ongoing contract discussions.

Hutton signed a one year deal with LA last offseason after spending the first four years of his NHL career with the Vancouver Canucks. He spent the majority of the year paired with Drew Doughty on the team’s top pairing, tallying nearly identical statistics as Maatta — 4 goals with 12 assists in 65 games.

The funny thing, too, is that both Hutton and Maatta stand at 6-foot-2, 206 pounds. Anyway, I digress.

Hutton posted career-best in several even-strength metrics last year, including a 55.5 Corsi-for percentage, which placed him into the “elite” category for puck possession. The 27-year-old also logged a career-best 4.0 point-share, broken down into 0.5 OPS and 3.5 DPS. He also accounted for a 54.4 expected-goals-for percentage.

If the two parties are able to strike up a contract, the left side of the Kings’ defense looks fairly solid. And having a veteran like Hutton back will allow the youngsters to develop at their own pace with one of Bjornfot, Anderson, or Clague likely slotting into the team’s third pairing.

Of course, the Kings have to be careful as to not block anyone from regular playing time. It would likely make sense to offer Hutton a one or a two-year deal to prevent any blockage from happening, but he may command more on the free-agent market.

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I suspect that he’ll test the market when the unrestricted free agency period opens on Friday, but he could circle back to the Kings if nothing better comes along.