Hutchinson, who can play at either right-back or in the centre of defence, becomes the eighth player to be signed by manager Sean O'Driscoll ahead of the start of the 2012/13 Championship campaign.
Reds chairman Omar Al Hasawi told the club's official website: "Sam is held in the highest regard by Chelsea and we're grateful to them for allowing him to join us on loan.
"He is an exciting young player who has already shown a lot of grit and determination in his career, characteristics that we are sure will endear him to our supporters."
Hutchinson came through the Chelsea youth system and made his debut for the west London club in a Premier League clash with Everton in May 2007. He made three more first-team appearances but his progress was dogged by a knee injury that forced him to retire in 2010.
However, in December of last year the 23-year-old signed a new contract at Chelsea following a dramatic improvement in the condition of his knee and he rounded off last season by making his first Premier League start for Roberto Di Matteo's men against Blackburn on the final day of the campaign.