Knights add netminding strength

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

Steve Mason catches pucks with his right hand.

That's rather rare in the goaltending trade.

But fellow former Knights Jason Guy and Daryl Borden wore their trappers on the right hand, too.

So newly acquired Michael Hutchinson should feel right at home in London.

He's a righty.

The Knights are banking on this big former Barrie Colts goalie being the right man to lead them back to Memorial Cup glory in 2009-10.

"I guess I never thought of it that way (right-handed catching goalies)," the 19-year-old Boston Bruins third-rounder said yesterday from Markham, where he works out in the summer. "I throw and write with my left hand. I've always felt the right glove gives the shooter a different look, that it's an advantage for me."

The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder turns the Knights' biggest question mark -- goaltending -- into an advantage.

In his lone visit to the John Labatt Centre last season with the Colts, Hutchinson stopped 46 shots and lost in a shootout.

"I'm thrilled," he said. "I've always enjoyed playing against the Knights and in London's rink. Sure, the Knights have the pieces to do well. They have a lot of guys who can put the puck in the net and it's going to be my job to keep it out."

Hutchinson has never played more than 38 regular season games in his three OHL seasons. He has starter-calibre statistics but split the Barrie crease with Peter Di Salvo last year.

"We knew one of us had to go," said Hutchinson, a Barrie native. "It's tough to leave a good team that was so close, but I really think this is going to be good for me. I don't have a number of games in mind but if I can play more than I have and help the team win, that's good enough for me."

London GM Mark Hunter pulled the trigger on the trade during a crazy Tuesday of wheeling and dealing. Yesterday, he took his kids golfing.

"I'm very happy with our goaltending now," Hunter said. "Michael had that good playoff a couple of years ago where he stopped a ton of pucks (to beat heavily favoured Brampton). He's a high pick in the NHL, a big goalie. I think he's going to help us and help (rookie) Michael Houser learn as they go along."

Hunter picked up Hutchinson, the 24th pick in Tuesday's Canadian Hockey League import draft and Barrie's seventh-round pick next year for the 15th pick in the import draft and Belleville's second-round pick in 2011.

Hunter also sent the Colts conditional picks -- Kitchener's third-rounder in 2011 and the Knights' second- and third-rounders in the 2014 draft -- if Hutchinson ends up playing an over-age season.

"I don't think he'll be back after this year," Hunter said. "I think he's good enough to get a contract."

The trade spells the end of Trevor Cann and Borden in London. Both were eligible for over-age campaigns.

"Cann signed with Colorado so we know he's already gone," Hunter said, "and Daryl told me he wanted to try out in the American League this year."

Hunter couldn't afford to wait. No, all he needs to do is find Hutchinson and Houser a goalie coach.

Dave Rook officially signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets and will re-unite with Calder Trophy winner Mason next season. The former Knights coach is at the Blue Jackets development camp this week.

"That's what we do," Hunter said. "It's about moving people up. We're happy for Dave. He'll still be around once in a while but we need a (full-time) goalie coach and we'll start interviewing soon."


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