The initial prognosis is true: Nashville Predators head coach Barry Trotz confirmed to NHL.com’s Mike Morreale that Carter Hutton will back up Pekka Rinne in net.
Many believed Hutton, 27, would be the man, although the Predators admitted that they considered looking for a more experienced No. 2 back in June.
The other significant netminder in the Preds’ pipeline is Magnus Hellberg, but Trotz told Morreale he’s merely “getting there.”
One could argue that the Predators are taking risk with their backup situation.
Rinne, 30, is dealing with a hip injury that might or might not heal up by training camp. Even if he does get to 100 percent by the beginning of the season, he’s already carrying a lot of pressure with that $7 million salary cap hit.
Despite being 27, Hutton is pretty wet behind the ears, too. He has exactly one game of NHL experience – when Chicago sent out close to an AHL squad against the St. Louis Blues to finish the 2013 regular season – so it’s not like the Preds are well-stocked if Rinne struggles or suffers more hip problems.
Then again, the Predators are one of the few NHL teams that can really prop up a replacement-level netminder, so maybe it’s not that much of a concern.