Miami hockey co-captain and senior defenseman Grant Hutton hung up his collegiate skates on Saturday, but he’ll soon lace up to play professional hockey for the New York Islanders.

“I’m obviously super thankful for everything Miami’s done and everyone who’s supported me,” Hutton said.

The 22-year-old Hutton inked a one-year, entry-level contract this morning with the Islanders after the RedHawks suffered a season-ending series sweep at the hands of No. 1 St. Cloud State this weekend.

Hutton’s announcement comes a day after Miami Athletics announced the firing of long-time head hockey coach Enrico Blasi, and 48 hours after fellow co-captain Josh Melnick signed an entry-level deal with the Dallas Stars.

A sought-after undrafted prospect, Hutton’s post-college destination has been cause for speculation since before the 2018-19 hockey season started.

“A big thanks to Hutts for coming back,” associate head coach Peter Mannino said. “He’s stronger, he’s faster every day. It’s a battle to push yourself and find that next step […] a lot of thank you to him to come back and want to find that last step.”

Both Hutton and Melnick returned for their senior season with the Brotherhood in hopes of winning a championship.

“A special moment for me was when I knew [Melnick] was going to come back for his senior year and I knew I was going to come back for my senior year as well,” Hutton said earlier this month.

Though Hutton didn’t captain his team to a championship, he collected 29 goals and 42 assists through 144 games with Miami. The 6-foot-3 blue liner known for his shot and physicality finished fourth on the RedHawks this year with 21 points (7g, 14a) through 37 games played.

“Part of our jobs, as coaches, is to develop them to give them opportunities to play at the next level,” Blasi said about Hutton and Melnick earlier this month.

That opportunity will come with either the Islanders’ American Hockey League affiliate the Bridgeport Sound Tigers or in the Islander’s final nine games of the NHL season.

 

simansec@miamioh.edu

@emilysimanskis

 

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