The Pittsburgh Penguins have been one of the busiest teams this offseason. The Penguins have done everything from hiring new management to reshaping their roster, but one important task the Penguins have not accomplished yet is re-signing F Brandon Sutter.
The Penguins acquired Sutter in exchange for F Jordan Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes during the summer before the 2012-13 season. When the trade was first announced, it seemed like the Penguins were giving up more than they were receiving, but Sutter has since then proven his worth.
Last season, Sutter scored 13 goals and accumulated 13 assists for a regular season total of 26 points. During the playoffs, Sutter really shined as he racked up five goals and two assists. Aside from Sutter’s ability to post decent numbers, he also possess several other positive on-ice qualities. Sutter, a two-way center, has been known to be clutch at all the right times. He is a skilled skater who plays with confidence, determination and isn’t afraid to shutdown opponents, regardless of his lanky frame. Sutter has been an all-around consistent player.
Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has extended offers to all of the Penguins’ restricted free agents, including Sutter, but Sutter has since then declined the offer. Rutherford claims to be trying to work out another offer, but with the Penguins’ having just a little over $7 million in salary cap space, re-signing Sutter for a well deserved pay raise will be difficult.
Re-signing Sutter may have not seemed like an urgent task at the start of the offseason, but since the Penguins will eventually lose the rest of their UFAs and are continuing to deal with a minor roster makeover, it would be wise to keep this young, essential third-liner around.