Up and down, in and out - words very similar to Vancouver Canucks young defenseman Ben Hutton, who has known highs and lows this season, and whose name has been in and out of trade chatter in the recent weeks.
Hutton's name has come up in trade talks as the Feb. 26 deadline nears - according recent report from the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch, the Canucks has been getting calls about the 24-year-old blue liner.
“The Canucks are also listening to offers for defenseman Ben Hutton,” Garrioch reported, after commenting on fellow teammate Erik Gudbranson's potential availability.
However, The Athletic's JD Burke noted that there are conflicting reports regarding the trade status of Hutton. While Garrioch claimed the club was entertaining calls for the blueliner, The Province’s Jason Botchford reported Canucks GM Jim Benning denied that exact report.
There (w)as some buzz this week when it was suggested the Canucks are currently shopping Ben Hutton. Jim Benning stepped up for The Provies and strongly quashed it.
“It wasn’t true. We haven’t had any (trade) calls on Hutton, ” Benning said. “No one has called about Hutton.”
While Burke dresses a list of pros and cons on trading Hutton elsewhere in the league, it is easy to understand why Garrioch and other NHL members would assume Benning was listening to offers: Between Dec. 19 and Jan. 6, Hutton sat out four of the Canucks seven games, and he has just six points in 41 games this season.
Hutton's playing in the first year of a two-year contract valued at $2.8-million a season, and is already overpaid for the role he now has. The Canucks could decide to get help on the blue line by calling up youngsters from the farm club, and that would only mean that Hutton would get paid to play on the third pair, or even watch from the stands.
However, the Canucks might be patient with Hutton and keep him in the fold.
"Regardless of which camp you fall in — pro- or anti-Hutton — deciding whether to trade him or not should be considerably more difficult a question to answer with any degree of enthusiasm. There's merit to either outcome, clearly," ends Burke.
Only a few weeks to go before the deadline... Time will tell.