VANCOUVER, B.C. — Former University of Maine hockey standout Ben Hutton has signed a a two-year contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks worth an average annual value of $2.8 million, Canucks general manager Jim Benning announced Thursday in a news release.

“Ben is developing into one of our young, emerging core players and is an important part of our future,” Benning said in the release. “We’re excited to see him further elevate his game and help this team compete for years to come.”

Hutton, 23, has registered four points (2-2-4) in 20 games with Vancouver this season and he currently leads defensemen in goals and shares the blueline lead in points.

In his debut NHL season in 2015-16, Hutton appeared in 75 games, recording 25 points (1-24-25) to lead all Canucks defensemen in scoring en route to capturing the Walter (Babe) Pratt Best Defenceman Award. He also finished sixth among NHL rookies in ice time (19:52 average) and tied for seventh in rookie assists.

Prior to making his professional debut with Utica in 2015 (1-0-1 in four games), Hutton spent three seasons with UMaine. In 108 career NCAA games, Hutton registered 65 points (28-37-65) and logged 40 penalty minutes.

On the international stage, the 6-foot-3, 207-pound defenseman represented Canada at the 2016 World Championships, helping his country capture gold.

A native of Prescott, Ontario, Hutton was selected by Vancouver in the fifth round, 147th overall, at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

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