TAMPERE, Finland — Lane Hutson had his studies at Boston University interrupted by a phone call.
It was worth answering.
Hutson was in study hall doing homework for his disabled education class when his cell buzzed to let him know he was going to represent the United States at the 2023 IIHF World Championship in Finland and Latvia.
Then the Montreal Canadiens defenseman prospect, chosen in the second round (No. 62) of the 2022 NHL Draft, was buzzing.
“I was pretty excited,” Hutson said. “It’s pretty impossible to say no to USA Hockey.”
The 19-year-old (5-foot-9, 154 pounds) has six points (two goals, four assists) and is plus-8 in seven games. The 2023 United States team is the first in its tournament history to win each of its first seven games and clinched first place and the top seed in Group A with a 4-3 overtime victory against Sweden on Tuesday. It opened quarterfinal play with a 3-0 win against Czechia on Thursday.
“I feel like every game I keep getting a little more confident,” Hutson said. “I’ve been feeling good on the ice, and I feel like I’ve been jelling really good with my teammates, too.”
Matt Coronato can attest. The Calgary Flames forward prospect competed against Hutson in the United States Hockey League while playing for Chicago and Hutson for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team. Not much has changed.
“He’s definitely a special one,” Coronato said. “He’s got a ton of skill. His offensive instincts are definitely one of the best that I’ve seen. He’s so deceptive with his skating, with his hands, with his eyes … he does it all. It’s great to see him doing well.”
He’s a student of the game who has impressed United States coach David Quinn.
“He’s as electric and dynamic as he was in college in this tournament,” said Quinn, also coach of the San Jose Sharks. “The thing I like about him is I think he learns quickly about how he has to adapt his game to another level. He’s a coachable kid. He works hard. You can see that his confidence is growing with the puck. He and I have talked about that he may have to create offense a little bit different differently at this level, a bit more puck movement. But good things usually happen when the puck’s on his stick.”
Hutson’s success has helped boost his confidence that he can make an impact in the NHL. His debut will have to wait with him returning to Boston University for his sophomore season after he had 48 points (15 goals, 33 assists) in 39 games.
“We’ve had a few times, our whole defensive core, where he’s on the ice and he does something and we’re all looking at each other and we’re like, ‘Oh my God, did you just see that?'” said United States defenseman Dylan Samberg (Winnipeg Jets), who scored the game-winner Tuesday at 1:37 of OT. “He’s a great player. He’s got a great offensive mind. He’s done some really good things defensively, too. I feel like he’s going to be a really good professional player coming down.”