Michael Hutchinson is only a name that is just starting to be known. The goalie for the Winnipeg Jets has begun to attract attention to himself after some stellar play this season, and he is beginning to seize the number 1 Goaltending job in Winnipeg.
Hutchinson was drafter in the 3rd round (77th overall) in the 2008 NHL entry draft by the Boston Bruins. He grew up playing AAA hockey in the City of Barrie, Ontario, whom he also played for in the OHL (Barrie Colts). He had signed as a free agent in the summer of 2013 by the Jets and was assigned to their East Coast League affiliate, the Ontario Reign at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season. After posting incredible stats at a 22-4-2 record, he was called up to Winnipeg's AHL affiliate in St. John's.
He spent last season enjoying success for the Icecaps, and got the last two starts of the year for the Jets last season. Because Boston had a number of talented goalies in their system, Winnipeg was able to sign him away from them as the Bruins organization had believed that there were a number of other goalies ahead of Hutchinson on their depth chart.
For Goalies with 15 starts of more, Hutchinson leads the League in save percentage, with a 0.936 (pictured above). He is ahead of names such as Fleury and Crawford, which proves to be a big deal as Winnipeg's defence doesn't stack up to those of Pittsburgh's or Chicago's. The Jets are in the hunt for a playoff spot in the super competitive Central Division and Western Conference, and it's Hutchinson's play that is allowing them to finally have the opportunity. Stopping 93.6% of shots means that it is very unlikely that he will keep this stellar play up, but even if his numbers dip a bit he is still in the "elite" category. Anything above a 0.910 is what a starting goalie should have, and Hutchinson proves to be better than that.
Hutchinson also leads the NHL in Goals Against, with 1.88 per game. Again, some of the goalies below him on the list play for a much better defensive team, meaning the Winnipeg goalie is posting incredible stats on a team where he has his work cut out for him. Blake Wheeler has even being quoted saying Hutchinson is "a freak" by how talented he is.
Why he is a future No.1:
With stats that are above average at every level he has played at, it's hard to imagine he can't be a starter in the NHL. He made the jump from the ECHL to the AHL and now to the NHL in just over a year. Goalies just don't simply move up to higher levels of hockey that quickly, unless they possess great talent.
With a small sample size, we can't truly predict Hutchinson's ceiling as a goaltender; however if he can play like this at only 24 years of age, imagine what he will become after years of development. Goaltenders are one of the hardest positions to develop and only a select few can enter the NHL as a starting goalie under 25 years of age. His current numbers are guaranteed to fall a bit but by the way he is playing they can't dip to much lower than they already are.
No one will be able to guess how good of a career Hutchinson will have, but with the show he is currently putting on many might soon praise him with the likes of Jonathon Quick or Tuuka Rask. He is posting elite numbers at only 24, imagine what he can do when he enters his prime.