As Michael Hutchinson put it, a tryout “beats sitting on your butt.”
He was trying to make a putt when the Detroit Red Wings reached out Sept. 18 with an offer of a professional tryout. Hutchinson, 33, was at his home in Winnipeg, Manitoba, when he found out. The next day, he was on his way.
“Got a call the Monday before camp,” Hutchinson said. “I was on the golf course and getting the itch to get on the ice, so I figured, why not?”
The Wings are leaning towards carrying three goalies going into the season, and the timing of the call to Hutchinson shows that they had a sudden need to strengthen the depth chart for the Grand Rapids Griffins. Sebastian Cossa, the hoped-for goaltender of the future who the Wings thought highly enough of in 2021 to move up to draft at No. 15, had given up six goals in each of his performances over the weekend, in a total of less than 60 minutes of playing time, casting doubt on whether he will be able to earn a job with the Griffins going into this season.
“We got the call on Monday, and I had to fly out on Tuesday,” Hutchinson said. “It was a little bit of a scramble. We had some plans we had to cancel, my wife and I. It was a scramble, but I thought it would be a fun opportunity.
“At the end of the day, it’s better to be skating than being at home and sitting on your butt. I’m just going to enjoy each moment.”
Hutchinson has appeared in 153 NHL games, posting a 2.93 goals-against average and .902 save percentage. He spent last season in the Columbus Blue Jackets organization, posting a 4.29 GAA and .902 save percentage in 16 games.
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With eight exhibition games, the Wings have plenty of time to get looks at all of their goaltenders. Lalonde said during training camp in Traverse City the Wings will go into the season with Husso as No. 1, but beyond that, there’s competition.
“We had a vision of improving our goaltending depth and our guys in that two, three, four hole, if you will, have played very well,” Lalonde said. “You want to be careful how you judge them. We’ve had three home games. Teams that travel usually do not send very deep teams as far as as NHL roster. So they’ve played well, but they’ve all been put in pretty good situations so far.”
The Wings project to carry 13 forwards and seven defensemen when the season begins Oct. 12, leaving space to carry Husso, Reimer and Lyon. Doing that would avoid the risk of losing Lyon by placing him on waivers, which are needed to assign him the minors. The Wings carried three at times last season — Husso, Alex Nedeljkovic and Magnus Hellberg — because Husso wore down late in the season, and the other two each went through stretches where they struggled.
“It’s just the reality of depth, how competitive every point is,” Lalonde said. “You have to give yourself a chance every night, especially in net. We had to learn the hard way last year, with our depth. We’re not backed up against the cap, and we’ve put ourselves in a good situation for the small term and the big term, also.”
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Next up: Penguins
Matchup: Red Wings (3-1-0 entering Tuesday) at Pittsburgh (2-2-1), exhibition.
Faceoff: 7 p.m. Wednesday; PPG Arena, Pittsburgh.
Regular-season opener: At New Jersey Devils, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12; ESPN+/Hulu (online-only).
More online: Tuesday’s game in Chicago ended after this edition went to print. Visit freep.com/sports for the game result.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michael Hutchinson ditches golf course to try and help Red Wings
Source: Yahoo Sports