Fantasy Watch: Hurricanes

Updated: November 27, 2009 at 2:06 pm by Ricky Daniels

Brandon Sutter

Someone who has clearly been flying off-the-radar early this season since being called up to the Hurricanes is Brandon Sutter.  There are certainly a number of reasons why he may have been overlooked, but what you might like to know are the reasons why he deserves a second peek.

Sutter is a young player who has only played 15 games yet this season after being called up from Albany, the Canes’ AHL affiliate.  In that short span, he has managed to tally 6 goals and 4 assists, a respectable number for any NHL forward.  Reading between those lines, though, is what really could make Sutter a blockbuster in fantasy leagues.  Here’s the scoop:

1. Sutter is owned in only 3% of Yahoo leagues and 2% of ESPN leagues, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding him on your waiver wire unless there are some Canes fans who already jumped on the prospect.

2. Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford has expressed a whole lot of confidence in the young player and has explicitly stated that he feels comfortable keeping him on the Canes’ squad.  There’s no reason to believe he will be sent back to Albany any time soon.

3. Eric Staal has made his debut back in the Canes lineup, Ruutu is likely to rejoin the team on the ice tonight, and Sutter is still positioned somewhere on the Canes’ top two lines.

4. There’s been a good deal of buzz about the Canes lineup lately with Staal’s return, and one of the rumors was that Maurice might try out Staal in a wing position and have Sutter center him.  We didn’t see that happen in Staal’s first game back and there’s no plan for it right now, but if the Canes continue to struggle much longer, drastic changes could occur.  Another reason to think it may happen: Sutter and Staal both made appearances on the Canes’ first powerplay line Wednesday night.

5. Here’s the real heart of it: We’ve seen 6 goals from him, meaning he has the skill to score NHL goals regularly (that’s just a plus).  Really, though, Sutter is a natural playmaker.  Once he gets comfortable and if he gets an opportunity to center on of the league’s best goal-scorers in Eric Staal, his assist numbers could jump up!

6. Sutter gets plenty of time on the Canes’ first powerplay unit.  The whole team has been struggling in the powerplay department with only a 14% PP conversion, but there’s reason to think that the Canes will be able to make some kind of turn around here once Staal and Cam Ward have both returned and start to look comfortable.  That number can only really go up from here, and 4 of Sutter’s 10 points have been on the powerplay so far this year.

To sum Brandon Sutter up for fantasy owners, he’s a young player who, at about 3% ownership, is an absolute steal in keeper leagues and certainly is worth a prospective pickup in any 10 team or deeper league as a 3rd/4th C.  If you’re having trouble figuring out how to make room for him on your squad, injuries to big name centers like Filppula, Dubinsky, and Franzen (also Briere’s suspension) might provide the space.  On the other hand, you could consider that his stats put him at a pace that outperforms Keith Tkachuk, Tyler Kennedy, Michael Frolik, T.J. Oshie, Olli Jokinen, Scott Gomez, David Krejci, and Jason Spezza!

Brandon Sutter, Carolina Hurricanes