Former University of Maine All-American defenseman Ben Hutton recently signed a one-year, $750,000 contract with the Vegas Golden Knights and his first game on Saturday night was a memorable one.
Hutton’s Vegas debut came against Vancouver, where he had spent most of his career leading up to this season.
With 1:11 left in the Golden Knights’ 7-4 victory, Hutton and Vancouver’s Jason Dickinson dropped the gloves and got into a spirited fight with each landing punches.
Hutton was a fifth round draft pick of the Canucks (147th overall) in 2012 and appeared in 276 games with them before moving on to the Los Angeles Kings for the 2019-20 season.
He played for Anaheim and Toronto last season and earned a free agent tryout with the Ducks this fall but was released before the regular season started.
Saturday’s game was the 380th of his NHL career and he logged 9:28 of ice time. He had one shot on goal, two hits and a blocked shot before exiting with his five-minute major penalty for fighting.
The 28-year-old Prescott, Ontario, native has amassed 16 goals and 75 assists in his NHL career.
He had a goal and four assists in 38 games between Anahem and Toronto last season.
After signing with the Golden Knights, the 6-foot-2, 206-pound Hutton told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that “I definitely think I have something to prove. I think I came off a bit of a down year. But with that being said, I’m looking forward to coming here and reinventing myself.”
Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer told the Review-Journal that with the condensed schedule, it is a “war of attrition” this season and “you can’t have enough NHL players.”
“He is an NHL player. The more of these around, the better. I think we’re going to need them all,” he added.
DeBoer also said he didn’t expect Hutton to take long to fit in with the Knights.
“It’s not like a deer in headlights. He gets it,” DeBoer said.
During his three-year UMaine career, Hutton racked up 28 goals and 37 assists for 65 points. His 15 goals during the 2013-14 season is the UMaine single-season record for defensemen.
Surprisingly, Hutton wasn’t the only former Black Bear to make a debut and get into a fight this past weekend.
Right winger Patrick Shea played his first game for the ECHL’s Maine Mariners on Sunday afternoon at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland and engaged in a second-period tussle with Trois-Rivieres’ Guillaume Beaudon in the Mariners’ 4-3 victory.
In addition to his fight, Shea also scored the game-opening goal on a breakaway.
He amassed 20 goals and 34 assists for 54 points during his four-year, 135-game career with the Black Bears that concluded in 2020.
The 24-year-old Shea, a 5-11, 194-pound Marshfield, Massachusetts, native, did not play in the 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The former seventh-round draft pick of the Florida Panthers (192nd overall) is the fourth former Black Bear to play this season for Mariners head coach Ben Guite, who had been an assistant coach/associate head coach under the late Red Gendron for eight seasons at UMaine.
The others are Eduards Tralmaks, Brendan Robbins and J.D. Greenway.
Hutton and Shea, who never played together at UMaine, will both return to action on Tuesday.
Shea and the Mariners will play a morning game (10:30 a.m.) at Jacksonville, Florida, while the Golden Knights will host Carolina at 10 p.m.