Tuesday, July 28, 2015 shall now and forever be known as ‘Brandon Sutter Love-fest Day’.
First, there was Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford saying that Sutter, who he dealt to Vancouver in a package for Nick Bonino earlier in the day, was “one of my favorite guys.” This was the second time the GM has dealt the center in three years.
Then there was Canucks general manager Jim Benning calling Sutter a “foundation piece” during a Tuesday conference call. He also said he’s moving towards trying to get the 2016 unrestricted free agent locked up to a contract. Benning also sees Sutter as a leader of the younger Canucks along with Bo Horvat. In case you were wondering, this is the same Brandon Sutter whose career-high for points is 40, and has never scored more than 21 goals.
Considering that two general managers have professed their undying adoration for Sutter, clearly he will get a hefty raise from his current two-year $6.6 million contract. Sutter, 26, is set to hit the unrestricted free agent market next summer.
Sutter’s Corsi-for % was 49.19, per Natural Stat Trick last season, and his CF rel% was a minus-4.16. Then again he was a third-line center playing a lot of the harder defensive minutes.
He also had fewer points than Bonino (39 to 33) last season, though he did score six more goals (21) than Bonino.
Like Benning said, "foundation piece."
Said Canucks Army:
Sutter is a legitimately good defensive centre in my estimation, and has generally fared well by the shot based metrics when he's been fortunate enough to play with competent line mates (like healthy Beau Bennett or Steve Downie). He's not a positive puck possession player though, and he's scored at a paltry rate during his Penguins tenure.
In spite of the praise lauded on Sutter, ultimately the Canucks essentially acquired a third-line center. As Canucks Army also notes, Sutter will basically replace Brad Richardson as Horvat will move up the depth chart. The aging Sedins (both 34) are still there, but really how much do they have left?
Again, Sutter is good, but is Benning overrating him to some degree?
“He’s a hockey guy, he’s an easy-going guy. He understands the game, he understands how things work, he understands things aren’t going to always go right,” Pens GM Jim Rutherford said. “He can always adjust to that.”
If Sutter ever wanted a big-time long-term deal, now’s the time. Strike while the iron is hot, Brandon!
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