Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 09/23/09 at 10:28 AM ET
The Hurricanes have trimmed their training camp roster to 27 players, and they will need to get it down to 22 for opening night. Of that number, twenty are already NHL regulars. The player who is standing head and shoulders above the rest is Brandon Sutter. Sutter already has 50 NHL games under his belt from last season, when he made the roster not because he was ready, but because the Canes needed him whether he was ready or not.
A little piece on the team’s official website highlighted Sutter’s off-season improvements, his strong showing at the prospects tourney in Traverse City and his quest to make the big club this fall. I haven’t been to a practice or to a preseason game, so I’ll have to take Jim Rutherford’s word when he says:
”Brandon Sutter’s camp has been outstanding. He leads the pack, and it’s not even close.”
While he might be having a great camp, it might not be the best thing for him to make the final roster in Raleigh.
Carolina made some off-season acquisitions (Tom Kostopoulos and Stephane Yelle) specifically to give the big team depth at the forward positions. So they wouldn’t have to depend upon AHL calibre talent to fill the roster. If Sutter makes the big team, he would have to make it as a healthy scratch, or they would have to scratch one of the other veteran regulars. Jussi Jokinen is dealing with a finger injury, but I don’t think it’ll keep him out of the lineup. I don’t see anywhere else to put Sutter.
I don’t think it would do Brandon Sutter any good to have him sitting on press row in the RBC Center. It would be much better for him to get game action in Albany and be at the ready for call-ups.
After the 20 NHL regulars, it looks like one of the remaining spots will go to Tim Conboy, who apparently has a one-way contract this season. He’s useful as a seventh defenseman or as a fourth line forward. The remaining one spot could go to one of the young defensemen, or it could go to Sutter. Although he may be miles ahead of the other hopefuls, I’d have to assume that he’s still behind the roster regulars. He’ll do better for himself (and for the River Rats) to be up there playing every night rather than once a week.
That’s just my thought as I’m heading out the door this morning. What do you think?
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.