Where Pius Suter fits into Blackhawks lineup and the versatility he brings

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Charlie Roumeliotis
·3 min read
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How Blackhawks plan to utilize Swiss league MVP Pius Suter originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

For the second straight year, the Blackhawks landed a coveted overseas star in Pius Suter, who was named Swiss league MVP last season a year after Dominik Kubalik won the award. 

Kubalik, of course, went on to score 30 goals in his rookie NHL campaign and was named a Calder Trophy finalist. It would be unfair to place those kinds of expectations on Suter, but the Blackhawks are certainly excited about what he could bring to the table. 

After missing the first day of training camp because he was ruled "unfit to participate," Suter has skated with the team three times now and the Blackhawks are wasting no time in experimenting where to place him in the lineup. 

On Tuesday, Suter centered the second line between Kubalik and Andrew Shaw. On Friday, he was slotted in at left wing on a line with Lucas Wallmark and Kubalik and served as the net-front presence on the second power-play unit. He even scored on a nice redirection during the intrasquad scrimmage. 

"He’s looked good, he looks comfortable," head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "Some guys play a perimeter game, and when there’s not much room out there, they find it tough. But that’s not the case of Suter. He likes to be inside, likes to be around the net. It’s not going to be perfect right away, but that’s expected.

"Whether we move him around to center or wing, part of what he brings, part of why we like him and part of why he may move up because he’s versatile, but so far we like what we see."

Suter admitted the biggest adjustment for him is the size of the rink. On a smaller surface, there isn't as much time and space out there and you have to fight for your ice.

But the comfort level will come over time, and he's leaning on Kubalik and others who have recently made the jump to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

"Just in general coming from the big ice to the smaller rink, I think guys experienced the same can help," Suter said. "And that’s what they did, for sure. Give some tips, probably talk more in the next couple days just to get to know each other as well, to know where we’re going." 

Where exactly Suter fits into the puzzle will play itself out over the course of training camp and the regular season. Heck, he could play anywhere in the lineup. That's what the Blackhawks like about him.

But right now, Suter is just focused on getting acclimated to his new home and teammates. He signed his entry-level contract in July and has been itching to get going. 

"I’ve been waiting a while for that so it’s exciting," Suter said. "It’s nice to finally meet everybody. The city’s nice. I’ve been on a lot of walks in the city so I’ve seen quite a bit from the outside. Just nice to be here and get it started finally."

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