Alex Hutchings' junior career began after being selected in the second round, thirty-seventh overall, in the 2006 OHL Priority Draft by the Barrie Colts. Hutchings played 30 games in the OHL at the age of 16 for Barrie in 2006-2007, scoring 1 goal and 5 points. The following season, 2007-2008, Hutchings exploded and became the club's leading scorer with 29 goals and 54 points in 68 games. In 2008-2009, Hutchings again led Barrie in scoring with 34 goals and 68 points in 63 games. At year's end he was rated the forty-fourth best North American skater by NHL Central Scouting and the forty-third best overall prospect for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by Red Line Report. The Lightning were ecstatic when Hutchings fell to the fourth round, where the team selected him with the ninety-third overall pick of the draft.
"He has excellent speed. [He's] really quick off the mark. Nice set of hands. For a guy who's not the biggest guy in the world, he adds an excellent compete level. He plays with a lot of sandpaper to his game." - Jim Hammett, Lightning Director of Amateur Scouting
"Skates well, scores a bunch of goals, plays hard, and sound in his own end. Yet no one seems to take much notice." -Red Line Report
Hutchings' primary assetts are his speed, work ethic, and hockey sense. He was voted the third best skater in the OHL at the end of the 2008-2009 season and shows good quickness and a sturdy base. He works hard, even in the high traffic areas, uses his linemates well, and has a good sense of where to find the open areas of the ice to get scoring opportunities. He also can create his own offense, because Barrie has never had a high end centerman for Hutchings to play with. He's also decent in his own third of the rink and can play on either special teams unit, and he has played the point for his junior club on the power play.
The biggest knock on Hutchings is his lack of size and upper body strength. He will get overwhelmed by bigger, stronger players, although he's never unwilling to get his nose dirty. If he ever gets his upper body built up like his lower body, he'll be in good shape.
We feel like Hutchings was a ten bell steal in the fourth round with second line upside in the NHL. Scouts have been all over the place in their projections with Hutchings, comparing him to a number of players: Bryan Little, Brian Gionta, Chris Kunitz, and Chuck Kobasew. The common thread is that all of those players are outstanding scorers at the NHL level. We expect Hutchings to play one more year of junior where he should again put up outstanding numbers before he spends a year or two with Norfolk in the AHL. We estimate his NHL arrival to be either in 2011-2012 or 2012-2013.
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