Tracking the Storm

Rutherford: Sutter Has a Chance

Tuesday, 09.22.2009 / 11:53 AM ET / 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.”

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72