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Get to know Carter Hutton, Buffalo's new goaltender

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Finding a goaltender to complement Linus Ullmark on the NHL roster was atop the Sabres' list of priorities coming into the offseason. They addressed that need on Sunday with signing of Carter Hutton to a three-year contract with an average annual value of $2.75 million

Hutton, 32, has compiled a record of 63-39-17 over six NHL seasons with Chicago, Nashville and St. Louis. He's coming off a career year with the Blues last season, when he led the league in goals-against average (2.09) and save percentage (.931) in 32 appearances. 

Here's more tidbits on the Sabres' new goaltender. 


The numbers 

According to Corsica Hockey, Hutton's .940 save percentage at 5-on-5 last season ranked second amongst NHL goalies (minimum 1,000 minutes). His expected save percentage (xSv%), which calculates the percentage a league-average goaltender should attain based on quality of chances faced, was .921. 

The difference between those two numbers is known as delta save percentage (dSv%), a measure of how a goalie performed relative to expectations. Hutton's mark in this category is 1.52, which ranked fifth in the league. 

Hutton also stacks up well in goals saved above average (GSAA), which is used to measure the cumulative amount of goals saved compared to a league-average goalie, ranking 11th in this category with a mark of 9.44.

In other words, according to GSAA, a league-average goalie put in the exact situations Hutton played would have allowed nine more goals over the course of his 32 games.


Organizational familiarity

Hutton should be well-known already within the Sabres organization, given his history with the Buffalo coaching staff. Hutton spent three seasons in Nashville when Phil Housley was an assistant on the Predators' bench. 

Hutton also spent his formative years playing for Rockford of the American Hockey League, where current Sabres goalie coach Andrew Allen worked in the same position. Director of College Scouting Jerry Forton was also an assistant coach at UMass-Lowell for two seasons during Hutton's college career.

Hutton cited his comfort with Housley, Allen and Forton as factors in his decision-making in an interview with NHL Network on Sunday. You can read Brian Duff's conversation with Allen regarding Hutton here.


The depth chart

Hutton figures to share the net with Ullmark, who Jason Botterill has already tabbed as one of Buffalo's two goalies next season. Ullmark, 24, has been an AHL All-Star in each of the last two seasons with Rochester and has accrued a .917 save percentage in 26 NHL games over three seasons, the bulk of which came as a rookie in 2015-16. 

Hutton's career-high for games played in a season is 40, but he said Sunday that he believes he's ready to eclipse that mark.

"I'd love to get into the higher end of the fifties just to give myself a goal," he told NHL Network. "I think I play better when I get more minutes. At the same time, we have a good, young goalie who's going to be my partner in Linus Ullmark, so for me it will be fun to be in that different stage now where I'm not the young guy and I can do a good job of helping him out to learn the ropes in the NHL."

The Sabres also added organizational depth with the signing of Scott Wedgewood to a one-year, two-way contract on Sunday. Wedgewood, 25, posted a 7-10-5 record in 20 games with Arizona last season.

The organizational depth chart also includes Adam Wilcox, who returned on a one-year AHL deal last week, and Jonas Johansson, who spent the bulk of last season playing for Buffalo's ECHL affiliate in Cincinnati. 

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