Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Canes Lock up Another Key Piece in Brandon Sutter

Thursday, 07.14.2011 / 11:07 AM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
X
Share with your Friends


Canes Lock up Another Key Piece in Brandon Sutter
Negotiations on a new contract weren’t too dramatic in the end, which is exactly how Brandon Sutter and the Hurricanes preferred it.

Paul Branecky
Follow on Twitter

The 22-year old center, a restricted free agent this offseason, signed a new three-year contract with the team on Wednesday evening that will pay him an average of just over $2 million per season. The term wasn’t quite as long as what General Manager Jim Rutherford had hoped for, but he wasn’t the least bit surprised to end up where he did.

“I had said six years because I wanted to point out publicly just how important he is to our team,” said Rutherford. “This is more or less what I actually expected.”

“From my standpoint I wanted a long-term deal,” said Sutter. “Three years isn’t terribly long, but anything longer than three is hard to put a number on with projections. Still, I’m really happy with the way it turned out.”

Because Sutter’s main contributions are defensive in nature – last season, he led team forwards in shorthanded ice time per game (2:21) and blocked shots (73) while pacing the entire team in plus/minus (+13) – both sides seemed to agree that attaching a longer-term value would have been difficult.

“He does things that are just as important as the guys that get 30-40 goals, but it’s hard to project too far down the line that way,” said Rutherford. “With the offensive guys, it’s easier to figure out where they might be in a few years.”

Making things difficult is the fact that Sutter may well end up being one of those offensive guys, even though that side of his game is less of a known commodity than his work on the other end. While his 14 goals last season were down from the 21 he scored the year before, part of that is due to reduced power-play time and his primary task of shutting down the opposing team’s best forwards.

For all either side knows, he could be more of a regular point producer in three years’ time.

“You never know what the next few years are going to be like in terms of numbers,” said Sutter. “For me it’s never been about that, but it’s a big part of determining your value compared to what other guys are doing.”

“He doesn’t get power-play time or the same opportunities that other players get, but if he did, he could score a minimum of 25 goals,” said Rutherford.

Even if he fills the same role as last season, Sutter hopes his offense improves on its own. As the season went on, he showed an ever-improving ability to beat defenders to the outside to create scoring chances, something he aims to do more consistently going forward.

“I obviously want to get more involved in offense,” he said. “There were stretches there were things weren’t happening for me, but it’s something I’m going to continue to work on. It’s just your mindset when you have the puck.”

In addition to his work on the ice, the Hurricanes were also pleased with how he accepted his new role as an alternate captain. Sutter himself said that he didn’t carry himself too differently with a letter on his jersey – he admitted to being more of an in-game cheerleader at times – but he did embrace his status as a bridge between veteran players and the team’s up-and-comings not that younger than himself.

“Having relationships off the ice with some of the younger guys certainly helps because they can ask me things they may not have the opportunity to ask at the rink,” he said.

“I think that was important for our team to put a guy with his leadership and maturity in that role early in his career,” said Rutherford.

Regardless of how this contract turns out, it seems as though both sides are hopeful that they’ll be able to reach another one in three years, making the term of this deal more about timing than either side’s desire to continue their relationship over the long haul.

“He’s one of the core players on our team and he should be here for a long time, if not for his whole career,” said Rutherford.


SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

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