The term being thrown to the wolves was never more apparent than Carter Hutton and the goaltending situation last season. With netminder guru, Mitch Korn, helping give the green light to the backup for Pekka Rinne coming out of off-season hip surgery, Hutton was thrust into the starting role with moments of glory and gnashing of teeth (pun totally intended).
What began as a decent start to the season turned into a horror show at the end of December for Hutton. But he rebounded nicely at the end of the season to post a very respectable 20-11-4 record. His SV% on the year was .910 and with a GAA of 2.62 ranked him 28th in the league. He finished the year on a five game win streak with one shutout in that span.
To come into the Predators organization with one NHL game under his belt and the added pressure of taking over the net after a freak hip infection of an elite level goalie, Hutton performed better than could be expected and earned himself a $175,000 raise and a two year contract to act as the stop gap until Mazanec, Saros or Hellberg become the next homegrown heir apparent to Rinne.
Best Case Scenario:
Hutton continues where he finished last season but only plays twenty games instead of the forty from last season. A slight uptick in his GAA and SV% is inorder and he comes away with two shutouts in relief of Rinne. He did look pretty good in preseason action Tuesday night allowing only one goal against Tampa Bay while Mazanec allowed three.
Worst Case Scenario:
Hard to find a much worst case than what happened last year and Hutton still fought through the adversity. Worst case for Hutton is an injury in practice and the Predators relying on an inconsistent Mazanec or an unproven Hellberg to backup Rinne.
Hutton takes over the color commentating job after his stint with the Predators and Grimson goes back to post-game duties. But seriously, the Predators and fans are hoping to see more of this and get another unreal save worthy of Sportscenter TopTen:
Jackrabbit, an animal known for it's quickness as seen in the video above. Extraordinary leaping ability.