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BHN Puck Links: Boston Bruins Still “Interested” In Ben Hutton

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The Boston Bruins have been linked to free agent defenseman Ben Hutton for the last few weeks, so confirmation of that interest isn’t exactly a surprise.

But FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman confirmed the B’s interest in Hutton with his always-fantastic 31 Thoughts blog this week, including the nugget that the New Jersey Devils have always been kicking the tires on the former Canucks and Kings D-man.

The 27-year-old Hutton makes a ton of sense for the Bruins given his size (6-foot-2. 206-pounds), his two-way ability (he was somehow a plus-5 on a dreadful Kings team last season) and the veteran intangibles that come with five full years at the NHL level. There may be some hesitation in guaranteeing Hutton a contract rather than having him go the PTO route at this point, but the Bruins also have a full roster of 36 players at training camp right now.

The Bruins would need to clear space for Hutton and his presence would also be making it a little more difficult for developing youngsters like Jakub Zboril, Urho Vaakanainen and Jeremy Lauzon to earn a spot. But as Don Sweeney has already indicated, the Boston Bruins aren’t lowering their expectations for this season even though they’re revamping the left side of their defense with both Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara now gone.

Hutton is kind of the “perfect fit” player for the Bruins and their needs, so it will be fascinating to see how it plays out with him over the next week. Now on to the rest of the BHN puck links:

*Interesting first days at training camp with both Pierre-Luc Dubois and Patrik Laine looking pretty uncomfortable answering questions about wanting to be traded out of their NHL cities. It seems the Winnipeg media has made up their minds that Laine wants out with the Jets. Let the trade rumors begin! (Winnipeg Free Press)

*The Bruins had their first day of training camp without captain Zdeno Chara for the first time in 14 years, and it was…well…different. (Boston Hockey Now)

*According to this list, Bruins sniper David Pastrnak is the third-ranked player to get excited about for this season across the NHL. Not too shabby for a guy that’s going to miss the first few weeks. (NBC Sports)

*The Alexis Lafreniere Era is underway with the New York Rangers. It will be fascinating to see how good he is right off the bat in New York and how much better the Rangers can be from last season’s playoff group. They are sneaky good. (New York Post)

*The Pittsburgh Penguins are looking for more offense from their D-men, which is something we also heard from the Bruins at the end of last season. League-wide trend, methinks. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)

*A lot of fun players to watch on Team USA at the World Juniors this week, but I have been really impressed with Boston College player Matt Boldy. The Minnesota Wild have a good one that might not be at the Heights for very long.

*For something completely different: I love the Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire’s catching up with former contestants. (EW)

Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston, WEEI.com, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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