Predators coach confirms Carter Hutton will be backup goaltender
The Predators will play Pekka Rinne until his legs fall off but when he needs a break? This season the backup will be Carter Hutton.
Who backs up Pekka Rinne in Nashville is often a moot point. He plays in a vast majority of Predators games having appeared in 43 of 48 games last season and a league-high 73 games the last full 82-game season. So the No. 2 guy isn't called on often.
Which might be a good thing because the Predators don't have a lot of experience behind Rinne this season. With no other goalies signed to NHL-level deals, the Preds will have to tap into the organizational depth. Coach Barry Trotz made it clear on Tuesday that his backup will be none other than Carter Hutton.
This isn't really a revelation as Hutton was signed this offseason and did seem destined to be the backup, but it's a bit of a stark reminder. Hutton will turn 28 in December and has just one NHL appearance on his resume, a game last season for the Blackhawks where he stopped 25 of 28 shots he saw.
Again, this probably shouldn't be a massive concern as Rinne might never leave the net, but it shows how thin the margin of error could be for the Predators. Perhaps Hutton is a late-blooming star, I don't know, but having such little security has to be a little troublesome, especially in the event that "knocks on wood," Rinne were to get injured.
The Predators have a good goaltending prospect in the AHL with Magnus Hellberg but with how many games Rinne is expected to start, it's understandable why they would want him to remain in the AHL. Playing a level down is more beneficial to a young goalie than watching from the bench at the top.
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