When Brandon Sutter went down with injury earlier this season, it opened up a spot in the lineup for Adam Gaudette, who fared quite well in his absence. While the Canucks will certainly welcome his return, it does leave the team with some difficult decisions to make with regards to the bottom half of their lineup. Where do you think Brandon Sutter fits in on a healthy team?
A healthy Brandon Sutter would be a great addition to the Canucks lineup. Healthy is the important part. Brandon Sutter had a good start to the season and was riding with a very high PDO at 5on5. He likely isn’t the scoring centre that this team needs but he can be very effective if used correctly. I would like to see Sutter on the wing with Beagle. Many would call this the fourth line but with Travis Green’s game plan this line would play more so as a third line. I love the work that Roussel-Gaudette-Virtanen are doing right now. If the Canucks can use a line of Beagle-Sutter-(insert winger here) to be the shutdown line that Travis Green loves so much we could see the Gaudette line thrive against weaker matchups. Sutter-Beagle on a line together gives the Canucks a shutdown line that has two players who can take faceoffs and can be responsible defensively. Sutter has been a black hole on offence but he can score it out in the right position and we saw at the beginning of the season that the Canucks “shutdown” line would get a ton of great scoring chances CC: Timmy Schalls. Sutter should play where he fits best and with the success of the 26-88-18 line, the best spot for Sutter would be to join up with Beagle and make a two-headed shutdown monster.
Brandon Sutter is a better-than-average NHL player, and there’s little doubt that – in the 2019/20 season, anyway – the Canucks are a better team with him in the lineup than without. That being said, his place in a completely healthy lineup is definitely tentative at this point. Adam Gaudette seems to have completely usurped his spot on the center depth chart, and Sutter can probably no longer be considered a top-nine forward on this roster. He’s currently slotted to return to the lineup as a fourth line winger, and will presumably play center on one of the PK units, and there’s definitely plenty of value in having him in that role from a purely on-ice perspective. In terms of asset management, it’s a little questionable, but the team is definitely better served from having him there than a Loui Eriksson or a Tim Schaller.
Of course, it should also we mentioned that we’re talking about the hypothetical of all hypotheticals here – “a healthy Canucks lineup.” If the Vancouver forward corps ever get completely healthy, they won’t stay that way for long – and Sutter is more capable of playing up the lineup than any of the club’s other depth forwards.
In short, I wouldn’t be too hesitant to trade Sutter if another team made a fair offer for him, but I also wouldn’t be desperate to move him. For now, he’s still got a spot on the squad.
Roussel – Gaudette – Virtanen is something we should 100% leave alone, but I agree that Sutter is certainly more effective than some of our other depth forwards. it doesn’t make his PRICE TAG any more palatable, but hey, we’ve got him, so might as well use em! Sutter’s possession numbers are much better than Beagle and Schaller’s, and his ESP/60 is a remarkable 2.34 (third highest of regular forwards). Now, he’s certainly not going to keep going at that clip, but it makes Beagle’s 0.3/Eriksson’s 0.4 and Schaller’s 0.6 look uh, even worse than they are! I think I’d prefer an Eriksson – Sutter – MacEwan fourth line personally. I know it’s not your conventional F4, but at least Eriksson is a good possession guy. Beagle and Schaller are just so bad.
As others have mentioned, in a small sample, Adam Gaudette’s played well enough to warrant a longer look centering the third line. The results from the Roussel-Gaudette-Virtanen line aren’t overwhelmingly good or bad. In 4 games they’ve lost the Corsi battle and own a ridiculously high PDO, but have a good high-danger Corsi and expected goals share. At the very least, their play thus far makes me want to see more from them.Gaudette’s role on that line is mentioned because that’s where we have grown accustomed to seeing Sutter deployed. Given these circumstances, I agree with Faber and Stephan, in that the best spot for Sutter is on Beagle’s wing, replacing MacEwan. Schaller, Beagle, and Sutter have only ever spent 2:24 together at 5 on 5, so there isn’t much of an indication on how well they would mesh, but they could be an above-average fourth line that sees a healthy chunk of its TOI come on the PK.
The Canucks have been a better team this year when Sutter is in the lineup. They are 10-6-3 when he’s in the lineup compared to 6-6-1 without him. When 5-on-5 (with a minimum 15 games played) he leads the team with a GF% of 64.71%. Sutter can play the wing or centre and would be an upgrade to the 4th line while offering more flexibility when it comes to healthy scratching Eriksson, Schaller, MacEwen or even Beagle. Also, he will give the PK a needed boost after a hot start. Having him healthy will help take some of the defensive burden of Bo Horvat giving him more offensive opportunities which the Canucks could use right now.
Hey, I like Brandon Sutter, I do. He is a defensive gem on this team and I say we keep him. Why wouldn’t you want a guy like that patrolling the wing for Adam Gaudette? Having a PK that can boast Jay Beagle and Brandon Sutter along with Chris Tanev, you have to think that makes the Canucks better. He isn’t a world beater and he doesn’t make the Canucks a drastically different team but like any role player, he allows Vancouver’s stars to stay rested and do what they do best: score the hockey goals.
I’m not sure how they make the cap work but Loui Eriksson might finally be at his end here.
If Taylor Hall can get traded, anyone… wait, that was Gretzky.
Sutter gives Travis Green flexibility in his bottom six. Like others have said, the Roussel – Gaudette – Virtanen has shown enough to earn an extended look although they haven’t looked amazing. Sutter on the 4th line with Beagle is a combination that hasn’t been tested before. They’ve only played 7:24 together at evens over the past season and a half so I’m curious to see if Green gives them a chance with a healthy lineup and how it fares. Sutter and Beagle with their salaries are a luxury the Canucks can afford for this season but I would definitely look at trading Sutter at the draft, dependant on if Gaudette shows he is a legitimate 3C option by season’s end.