Amidst his second full-season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, is it already time to start considering dealing forward Brandon Sutter?
Ineffective and nearly invisible through the first 18 games of the 2013-14 campaign, Sutter has been anything but a contributor. And because he’s due to become a restricted free-agent after the season, it makes a trade involving him seem all the more reasonable.
Making $2,066,667 million for this year, Sutter has produced six points (2G, 4A) and skated to a discouraging minus-2 rating. Although he’s still relatively young at the age of 24 and has time to grow within the system, his overall proficiency suggest that perhaps, given the circumstances, it’d be in the Pens’ best interest to move him before it’s too late.
Hardly ever crashing the net and putting weak shot attempts on goal, Sutter is playing like a fourth-line player rather than a third-line force. In the game against Philadelphia last Wednesday, Sutter lost a face-off shorthanded and was promptly removed shortly thereafter for forward Joe Vitale — indicating head coach Dan Bylsma’s current impatience with him at the face-off circle.
So what is he doing correctly? Or a better question, are Pens’ fans going to have to wait for the team to play the Boston Bruins for him to have another successful outing?
Acquired in the famous Jordan Staal trade from the Carolina Hurricanes, maybe not everyone, but the vast majority of the hockey world thought Pittsburgh got away with highway robbery. Besides the addition of Sutter, they received the Canes’ eighth-overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft (used for defenseman Derrick Pouliot) along with defenseman Brian Dumoulin.
While some may argue the Pens’ attained the better package — which they still could end up having because of Pouliot’s outlook — as of right now, the shipment of Staal was a far bigger loss than fans’ would’ve probably anticipated.
A dominant shorthanded protector of the net and a diligent offensive piece, Staal was the perfect third-line center to backup forwards’ Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Although he lost some of his goal-scoring luster as the years’ went on, Staal’s overall game in my eyes was irreplaceable, and a huge reason as to why Pittsburgh won the cup in 2009.
Sutter of course was certainly not out to be Jordan Staal, and the Pens’ knew he obviously wasn’t as valuable I guess you would say, but they also didn’t imagine him being this feeble. So I say again, trade him — the bundle in return will only diminish if time is wasted.
Depending on who they can get for him, my vote is for Anaheim Ducks’ forward Nick Bonino, but I’m confident and optimistic that there are plenty of others to choose from.
Topics: Pittsburgh Penguins