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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Rutherford: Sutter Has a Chance

Tuesday, 09.22.2009 / 11:53 AM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Rutherford: Sutter Has a Chance
Of the six players still in camp who are trying to break into the Hurricanes’ NHL roster, General Manager Jim Rutherford believes one has stood out head and shoulders above the others.

Paul Branecky
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Brandon Sutter’s camp has been outstanding,” said Rutherford. “He leads the pack, and it’s not even close.”

Improvements to the 20-year-old second-year pro’s foot speed and faster decision making have given Sutter a fighting chance to reclaim the roster spot he earned out of last year’s camp. He scored a shorthanded goal in last night’s 4-2 loss in Atlanta, adding to the one he netted during the team’s prospect tournament victory earlier this month in Traverse City.

Those developments have served to complement the hockey sense that made him the Hurricanes’ first-round pick, 11th overall, in 2007.

”He’s one of our smartest forwards, and to say that about a 20-year-old is saying a lot,” said Rutherford.


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It’s been known all along that any of the team’s prospects would need to have a terrific training camp to earn a full-time roster spot with the Hurricanes, and it appears Sutter is now approaching that territory. Be it through a trade or the simplicity of a healthy scratch, it’s always been Rutherford’s long-standing policy that veterans can be moved to accommodate young players who are deserving of a promotion.

“We’ll have to see how the veteran players play,” said Rutherford. “[Sutter] has done everything he can do. He’s put himself in a position to force the veterans to play the way they need to, because if they don’t, there’s a player sitting right there who wants one of their spots.”

That spot wouldn’t necessarily even be on the fourth line, where he earned the majority of his minutes last season.

“If he continues to play like this, he can play in the top nine,” said Rutherford.

Although the team’s next exhibition game on Friday is slated to include the bulk of the team’s established NHL players, Sutter could be given a look based on what happens during this week’s practices and how injured forwards Jussi Jokinen (finger) and Michael Ryan (probable concussion) are progressing.

If he shines enough in that game or during the preseason finale the following night in Nashville, Rutherford’s hand could be forced. If not, he’ll start the season in Albany as initially expected, although he’s now heavily on the team’s radar as a potential in-season call-up, if nothing else.

“If he makes the team it won’t surprise me, and if he’s sent to Albany it won’t surprise me,” said Rutherford. “It’s just part of preparing him to be a better player.”

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 61 12 28 -16 40
E. Staal 56 18 19 -10 37
E. Lindholm 60 11 16 -16 27
J. Skinner 56 16 10 -16 26
R. Nash 58 7 15 -9 22
N. Gerbe 57 7 15 -11 22
V. Rask 59 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 61 6 12 3 18
J. Staal 25 4 12 -2 16
A. Nestrasil 33 4 10 4 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 19 4 .913 2.37
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .906 2.60