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Tampa Bay Lightning

Bolts pick is ready to back up talk

Tribune correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: March 23, 2013 at 12:29 AM

He might not be the biggest guy out there, but you wouldn't know it by his mouth.

Get Alex Hutchings, the Lightning's fourth selection in the NHL entry draft yapping and he might not stop. He lists his favorite Web site as Facebook and the nickname given to him by his Barrie Colts teammates is Mouth.

So we know he can talk the talk. Now, as a member of the Lightning, can the 5-foot-10, 173-pound left winger from Burlington, Ontario, walk the walk?

Jim Hammett, Tampa Bay's director of player personnel, seems to think so.

"He has excellent speed. [He's] really quick off the mark. Nice set of hands. For a guy who's not the biggest guy in the world he has an excellent compete level. He plays with a lot of sandpaper to his games. We love his skill set," Hammett said.

Hutchings had 34 goals and 34 assists in 63 games for the Colts last season and a large number of those goals were initiated in places where the big boys tend to dominate.

"You have to have a little bit of grit. Don't be afraid to get into the dirty areas and go and get that puck from someone who people may not expect you to get it off of," he said.

His idol as a kid was Red Wings great Steve Yzerman and his current role model happens to be another gritty, skilled Canadian.

"My favorite player would be [Mike] Richards on Philadelphia, but if I could play like him that would be a goal," Hutchings said. "But I'm more of a [Marc] Savard type on Boston. If I could play with a bit more anger and hit a bit more, that would definitely add to my game."

Hutchings grew up less than an hour southwest of Toronto, so it was always hockey first, everything else second.

"When I was 3 I would rollerblade and it went from there. I played house league hockey right in Burlington my whole life and then went to Barrie in the OHL and now I'm here," he said.

And excited to be drafted by a team that hopes to be in the midst of a successful rebuilding process. With 2008 No. 1 overall draft pick Steven Stamkos and 2009 first-rounders Victor Hedman and Carter Ashton, Hutchings is excited about the potential in Tampa Bay.

"It's good to be drafted by a team that is rebuilding maybe more than some other teams and that will be in the back of my mind, but I'll just go and try and prove myself in camp," he said.

"I've known Stamkos a bit and it's neat that some guys from Ontario have been there ... and I've played with Carter Ashton a little bit in the prospects game, so that's cool knowing a guy going into training camp. Obviously the city is nice and I'm thrilled to be drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning."

Now, it's time to walk the walk.

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