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David Reinbacher or Lane Hutson: which is the better prospect?

This morning, in a piece on Adam Engström, my colleague Charles-Alexis Brisebois rightly wrote that the Habs are looking to build one of their strongest defenses. The foundation has been laid by Marc Bergevin (Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris, Arber Xhekaj, Logan Mailloux, etc.), and clearly, Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton are building on that momentum.

Of course, Engström and Justin Barron were acquired by HuGo, but the two best blue-line prospects to arrive under their reign are Lane Hutson and David Reinbacher.

In an article published earlier today in the Journal de Montréal, Kevin Dubé ranked the CH’s top 10 prospects. He ranked Reinbacher first, with Hutson a close second.

Now, in his analysis, Dubé asks a question that really, really got me thinking:

We also asked the question: would Lane Hutson have been the fifth overall pick in the last NHL draft, a crop deemed above average by many? – Kevin Dubé

He says he doubts it, which is why Reinbacher is ahead of Hutson at number one. And in fact, it follows Scott Wheeler’s analysis, which also places Reinbacher ahead of Hutson in his ranking of top prospects (in the NHL, this time).

That said, I’d add a nuance to Dubé’s question that, to me, makes it a little more complex: if today’s Lane Hutson (so a year older, but with a huge NCAA rookie season under his tie) had been available at No. 5, would you have preferred to see the CH take Hutson or Reinbacher?

I talked it over with a few of my fellow writers on the site, and Hutson was the popular choice.

On the other hand, I totally understand why someone might prefer Reinbacher: his floor is much higher than that of the American defenseman, who could have a tougher time in the NHL with his smaller frame.

Hutson will need a guy like Reinbacher to be effective, but Reinbacher won’t need a guy like Hutson to play good field hockey.

To me, it boils down to whether you prefer the guy with the highest floor (Reinbacher) or the guy with the highest ceiling (which, to me, is Hutson). It’s a little more complex than that because there’s also a notion of versatility (where Reinbacher has the edge), but roughly speaking, that’s whatit comes down to.

On the other hand, the fact that it’s even a question right now shows that the Tricolore really hit the jackpot when they selected Hutson late in the second round (62nd, to be precise) last summer.

Because right now, it’s not ridiculous to compare him to the most recent fifth overall pick in the draft (and even to place him ahead of it, as Craig Button did), and that’s something.

If I had to choose, I think I’d go for Hutson in this hypothetical scenario. The good news, though, is that both are in the Habs’ nursery, and in an ideal world, they’ll be playing on the same defense pairing for the long term with the CH.

What more could you ask for?

In gusts

– Speaking of Reinbacher.

– Great reads on Dominique Ducharme.

– I’d rather see him with Alex Newhook or Kirby Dach on the second line, personally.

– Great news.

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