Hutton had to stop himself from squealing Monday morning at UBC.
Standing in the entrance tunnel at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, Hutton was joined by Vancouver Canucks president Trevor Linden; Hutton smiled as wide as could be during the impromptu one-on-one meeting as Linden congratulated him on all his hard work.
The 22-year-old defenceman came into Canucks training camp as a depth prospect, but following Frankie Corrado, Linden Vey and Alex Biega being placed on waivers early Monday, Hutton, Jared McCann and Jake Virtanen have all secured a longer look from the Canucks.
Linden and GM Jim Benning said all training camp they were running a merit-based system that would reward players who deserve it. Hutton, McCann and Virtanen, alongside forward Adam Cracknell, are all surprise additions to the Canucks line-up.
The season officially opens for Vancouver Wednesday night in Calgary and the next 48 hours can’t go by quickly enough. It’s time to see if the kids can “Horvat” their way to permanent positions on the team.
“I’m not thinking about that quite yet,” laughed Hutton, “I’m just happy to be here. This smile isn’t going anywhere, it’s large and in charge.”
Hutton admitted despite playing in seven of eight pre-season games this season and doing everything he could to impress, being with the Canucks is quite surreal.
As if there wasn’t enough going on Monday, a fight appeared to break out at the end of Canucks practice between Brendan Prust and Jake Virtanen?!
“It was all in good fun,” said Virtanen, sporting an unrelated black eye. “Prusty wanted to show us how to stand up for ourselves; I think I could maybe hold my own for a bit, I’m not sure about McCann though.”
Trevor Linden said Virtanen was always “penciled in” as a Canucks forward this season, but that the 19-year-old showed well in camp and he earned the spot, nothing was given to him.
That’s music to the ears of Virtanen, who said the real work begins now.
“This is exciting and I’m happy to be here, but now I have to work harder than ever to prove I belong. I have to come in day after day and show what I can do, there are no days off.
GOOD LUCK McCANN
Jared McCann didn’t get much reaction from his father when he called to tell him the big news this morning.
“My parents are on vacation right now,” said McCann, “so they were like ‘who is this??’ My dad’s not a very emotional guy, he was like 'oh, okay, good luck.'”
Jokes aside, the McCann family couldn’t he happier for the 19-year-old. He’s still a bit in shock.