TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent defenseman Andrew Hutchinson to a two-year contract today, owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie announced.
“Andrew had a great season in the AHL last year,” vice president of hockey operations Brian Lawton said. “He brings a good amount of experience and some offensive spark to our blue line.”
Hutchinson, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, played in 67 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League last season while serving as the team’s captain. He recorded 18 goals, 64 points and 13 power-play goals, leading all Wolf Pack defensemen in those categories. He ranked second on the team in assists (46), plus/minus (+28) and power-play goals, third in points and was tied for fifth in goals. He led all AHL defensemen in points and assists, and also ranked third in goals. Hutchinson was named the winner of the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s most outstanding defenseman. He set franchise defenseman records for goals and points in a season and tied the mark for assists. He also became the first Wolf Pack defenseman to record a hat trick on February 8 and had the first five-point game by a Hartford defenseman February 29. Hutchinson also had two goals and four points in five postseason games with Hartford.
A native of Evanston, Illinois, Hutchinson has appeared in 95 career NHL games with Carolina and Nashville. He has accumulated 10 goals, 33 points and six power-play goals. In 2006-07 he led all Carolina defensemen in power-play points with eight and power-play assists with six. He was tied for third among Hurricanes defensemen in scoring with 14 points. Hutchinson made his NHL debut on October 18, 2003 with Nashville. He was a member of Carolina’s 2006 Stanley Cup Championship team.
Hutchinson, 28, has played in 257 career AHL games, recording 49 goals and 160 points. He represented the PlanetUSA All-Stars in the 2004 AHL All-Star Game and helped the Milwaukee Admirals to the Calder Cup Championship that same year.
A product of the United States National Team Development Program, Hutchinson played four seasons at Michigan State, totaling 19 goals and 78 points in 159 career games. He was named a second-team All-American following his senior season in 2001-02. In 2000-01 he was named the CCHA’s best defenseman and was a CCHA Second Team All-Conference selection.
He represented the United States in the 2007 World Championships and recorded three goals with four points in seven games during the tournament.Hutchinson was drafted by Nashville in the second round, 54th overall, in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. He was acquired by Carolina on June 29, 2005 in exchange for a third-round pick in 2005 and was then acquired by the Rangers on July 17, 2007 with center Joe Barnes and a third-round pick in 2008 in exchange for Matt Cullen.