Started from the Bottom, Now Brett Sutter's Here
What will Brett Sutter bring to the Ontario Reign? Does he have a chance to be the first Sutter to skate for the Kings?
Nine Sutters have played for a whopping 14 NHL franchises:
- Boston (Ron)
- Calgary (Ron, Brett)
- Carolina/Hartford (Brody, Brandon, Brett)
- Chicago (Brent, Darryl, Rich, Duane)
- Colorado/Quebec (Ron)
- Minnesota (Brett)
- New York Islanders (Brent, Ron, Duane)
- Pittsburgh (Brandon, Rich)
- Philadelphia (Ron, Rich)
- St. Louis (Brian, Ron, Rich)
- San Jose (Ron)
- Tampa Bay (Rich)
- Toronto (Rich)
- Vancouver (Brandon, Rich)
That's almost half the league! So will center Brett Sutter, LA's newest acquisition and Darryl's son, make it 15?
Not yet, as Brett will make his organizational debut with the AHL's Ontario Reign. He's not the first Sutter to skate for a Los Angeles farm team, however: In 1995-96, Ron appeared in 25 games with the IHL's Phoenix Roadrunners.
But back to Brett. Frankly, he wasn't brought in to supplant bottom-six Kings pivots Nick Shore, Vinny Lecavalier, Trevor Lewis, or Andy Andreoff; as for the Reign, Nic Dowd is the most likely recall up the middle. That said, he does have 60 NHL games under his belt and can also play wing and kill penalties, so this Sutter might see Staples yet.
But what the 6'0" forward is projected to bring is a steady veteran presence to Ontario's title defense. IowaWild.com writer Tom Witosky agrees that "Brett's strength is his toughness and experience."
Sutter himself added, "Energy, physical, kind of play up or down the lineup. Just do whatever I’m asked." Strong on the draw too, he's won 52.1% of his NHL faceoffs, in an admittedly small sample size.
The 28-year-old also owns some offensive punch, scoring 44 points as recently as two seasons ago in Charlotte. Those numbers, however, suffered in Iowa, as Sutter and the Wild struggled. He has just 14 points in 57 games this year, while the team is on its way to being the Western Conference's worst for a third consecutive campaign.
Confirmed Brett Sutter traded to the #lakings, where dad coaches. Minor-league trade for Scott Sabourin. Sutter deserved fresh start #mnwild— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) February 29, 2016
Witosky lent some insight as to why Brett might welcome a reset. "It's been a tough season for Iowa because of injuries. Suts played a leadership role in the locker room at a tough time. Several players told me he helped hold the locker room until players got back." Not surprisingly for a Sutter, that leadership role has included being Charlotte Checkers captain from 2011-14 and Iowa Wild assistant captain for the last two years.
So unlike the departed Sabourin, who appeared in just 28 of 50 Ontario games this season, Sutter's energy, versatility, and experience should make him a fixture in Mike Stothers's line-up.
And while Sutter had nothing but good things to say about his time in Iowa, he's clearly excited about going from worst to Western Conference-first. "Everyone wants to play in the playoffs, to have that chance to win."
He's not the only Sutter who's excited:
Brett Sutter on Chris's reaction to news that he was coming to LA: "He was pumped. Called me crying soon as I told him."— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) March 2, 2016