Canadians: Will Lane Hutson defy logic?

MONTREAL — If all teams had truly given themselves the task of picking the best player available, Lane Hutson likely would have been out of the Canadians’ reach when it came time to go to the 62e Friday draft pick.

Hutson was one of the most electrifying defensemen in the Class of 2022. He was the quarterback for America’s development program, with whom he had 63 points in 60 games. He also averaged over a point per game at the U18 World Cup.

He should be creative, intelligent, fast. “If he were just a little closer to 5-foot-11 and 30 pounds heavier, we could call him the best defenseman in the draft,” concluded independent Hockey Prospects in their year-end guide.

But you guessed it, Hutson’s chances of ever excelling in the National League are hampered by his small physique. The Chicago native is listed at 5ft 8 and 158lbs. That is why, despite all his talent, many doubt his chances of one day conquering his niche at the highest level.

“I know that I can get bigger, stronger and even bigger,” argued the young American, who was used to this refrain, after his selection. It’s something that will come with age. But whether that’s the case or not, I believe I’ll be able to make my space by playing my way. Everyone is the same size on the ice anyway. »

Hutson says he takes inspiration from Torey Krug, who has done a lot in his career to improve the image of small defenders. At 5-foot-9, the veteran was a solid quarterback for the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues. New York Rangers’ Adam Fox is another one the new CH project likes to be compared to.

“One of the keys to my game is my ability to see the next game before my opponent is in a position to counter it. When I carry the puck I see several options. And when my first option is no longer valid, I move on to the next. It’s important to think fast and keep the other team on their toes. It’s my mentality. »

Hutson initially describes himself as a passer and wants to develop shooting reflexes to become more unpredictable in the eyes of opposing teams. He will continue his education at Boston University, where another Canadian hopeful, forward Luke Tuch, is already developing.

The fascinating Vinzenz Rohrer

Vinzenz Rohrer has arguably the most intriguing personality of all the prospects parading on the Canadian podium on Friday. Martin Lapointe wasn’t lying when he compared his charisma and appeal to those of Juraj Slafkovsky, which is already well documented.

The 17-year-old Austrian said he developed a bond with the Canadian’s leaders when they challenged him to table tennis after their Week of Hope Evaluations meeting in Buffalo.

“I won five games and lost none. That probably convinced you! Now I know why I’m here,” laughed the friendly teenager during his media appearance.

Rohrer’s bat-in-hand dominance shouldn’t have surprised anyone. His father, Stefan Lochbihler, played on the ATP Tour in the 1980s and once placed 141ste World Ranking.

Rohrer says he himself played competitively for eleven years. He stopped investing all of his energies in hockey, preferring the idea of ​​pursuing a team sport rather than a potential solo career. But he believes his strength of character today is influenced by his past on the pitch.

“If you have a bad game in hockey, maybe no one but a scout will notice. In tennis it is impossible to hide behind others. When you’re not having a good day or having a tough time mentally, it’s obvious to everyone. It gave me a spiritual toughness that helps me in all facets of my life. »

Rohrer’s career is also interesting from another point of view. His neighbor and childhood best friend in Feldkirch is Marco Rossi, a first-round pick at the 2020 Minnesota Wild. He as proof.

Rossi crushed the Ontario Junior League by scoring 120 points with the Ottawa 67’s before turning pro. When it came time to choose his own path, Rohrer figured the same formula might work for him. He, too, took the direction of the Canadian capital. He had 48 points, including 25 goals, over the Ottawa River last season.

“You could say it worked pretty well for Ottawa in getting them to the next level. I saw that when I was a little younger and while I wanted to go my own way, I told myself if it was good for him, it might be good for me too. I think the future has proved me right. »

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