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Preds give Rinne insurance for two years, re-sign Hutton

Two-time Vezina Trophy finalist Pekka Rinne unexpectedly missed 51 games this past season. As a result, the Nashville Predators were forced to turn the reigns over to three rookies, one of whom was Carter Hutton. The former Rockford IceHog responded with a 20-11-4 record and, as of Monday afternoon, earned himself a new multi-year NHL deal.

Just a month shy of free agency, the Preds have locked Hutton up for two years for a shade over $1.5 million total. The deal has been made official by the organization but it was first reported by Kris Martel of The Predatorial.

If Rinne can return to form, the organization now has faith that the Thunder Bay, Ontario native can dispel their workhorse on occasion, giving him rest for 20-25 games. And, if the worst case scenario happens and Rinne has long-lasting effects from the hip surgeries that kept him out last year, they now have faith that they’re in serviceable hands.

In short, by having Rinne and Hutton in the crease and Shea Weber, Roman Josi, Seth Jones, Michael Del Zotto (pending RFA), Ryan Ellis (pending RFA) and Mattias Ekholm (pending RFA) patrolling the blueline for the next few years, all General Manager David Poile has to seemingly worry about is improving his forwards.

The official press release is below.

Nashville, Tenn. (June 2, 2014) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed goaltender Carter Hutton to a two-year, $1.45 million contract. He will make $700,000 in 2014-15 and $750,000 in 2015-16.

Hutton, 28 (12/19/85), spent his first full season at the NHL level in 2013-14. After starting the season with just one game of NHL experience, he finished the season as the sixth 20-game winner in franchise history, posting a 20-11-4 record to go along with a 2.62 goals-against average, a .910 save percentage and a shutout. The Thunder Bay, Ontario native went 13-4-2 in his final 19 decisions of the season, which included a personal five-game winning streak to close out the campaign; he had a 1.77 goals-against average, .940 save percentage and a shutout in those five contests. Hutton also posted a 6-0-1 record when facing at least 35 shots in 2013-14.

Never drafted, Hutton spent time with Adirondack, Worcester and Rockford of the American Hockey League and Toledo of the ECHL from 2010-13 before making his NHL debut on April 27, 2013 with Chicago. The 6-1, 195-pound netminder played four seasons at UMass-Lowell (Hockey East) from 2006-10, ending his collegiate career as the school’s all-time leader in goals-against average (2.33), save percentage (.913) and shutouts (10). He is on Twitter @CarterHutton.

PHOTO CREDIT: Mel Boysen // Flickr (permission pending)