Canucks extend ’emerging core player’ Hutton — two years, $5.6 million

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One of the brightest young talents on Vancouver’s defense has re-upped for the next two years.

Ben Hutton, who leads all Canucks d-men in goals and is tied for the blueline lead in points, has agreed to a two-year, $5.6 million extension, one that carries a $2.8M average annual cap hit through 2019.

“Ben is developing into one of our young, emerging core players and is an important part of our future,” Canucks GM Jim Benning said, in a release. “We’re excited to see him further elevate his game and help this team compete for years to come.”

Hutton, 23, surprised many last year after making the team out of training camp, then putting together an impressive campaign. The former University of Maine standout — a fifth-round pick in 2012 — finished tied for second with Colton Parayko in rookie d-men in assists (24), trailing only Flyers standout Shayne Gostisbehere.

Hutton was then named to Team Canada’s gold-medal winning side at the 2016 World Hockey Championships.

This year, Hutton is averaging over 21 minutes a night while appearing in all 20 contests. So it’s no surprise the Canucks locked him in.

It’s worth noting that, earlier this month, Hutton had been linked to the Evander Kane-to-Vancouver trade rumors, as Buffalo GM Tim Murray was reportedly interested in acquiring a defenseman.

Looking ahead, the Canucks will now work on another extension for a talented youngster — Bo Horvat, who’s currently the team leader in goals (with seven) and tied with Daniel Sedin for tops in points (13). Horvat, 21, was the ninth overall draft pick in 2013 and will see his entry-level deal expire in July.

Related: Horvat making big strides for Vancouver