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Lightning 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 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
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9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 41 15 13 -8 28
J. Faulk 46 8 18 -14 26
J. Skinner 41 10 9 -7 19
E. Lindholm 46 9 10 -10 19
R. Nash 46 7 12 -4 19
J. Tlusty 39 11 7 -12 18
N. Gerbe 42 4 13 -2 17
V. Rask 46 6 9 -9 15
A. Sekera 44 1 14 -8 15
C. Terry 33 6 3 -3 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 5 8 2 .916 2.32
C. Ward 11 17 3 .911 2.45