One night after finally having a chance to play a game on Rogers Arena ice again, former Canucks forward Brandon Sutter retired from the NHL on Sunday after the Edmonton Oilers released him from his Professional Try-Out offer.
His comeback bid from long-term Covid ended in a fitting manner, against the club with which he played the last 275 games of his career. Sutter was 43 games into the 2020-’21 season with Vancouver when Covid and its lasting effects derailed his efforts.
“You need to be 100% healthy to compete in the NHL, and although my health continues to improve, in consideration of my health and family, I am officially retiring from hockey,” Sutter said in a statement. “Thank you to the Oilers, Canucks, Penguins and Hurricanes, as well as all my past coaches, trainers and teammates for the incredible experiences throughout my 13 seasons in the NHL.”
Sutter played 14:52 on Saturday night in the 5-2 Oilers loss to the Canucks. He picked up an assist and a minor penalty for tripping Elias Pettersson early in the 3rd period. He won 53.8% of his face-offs.
It’s as if Vancouver has simply failed to find his replacement. They’ve cycled through a handful of 3rd and 4th-line centres since Sutter went down, none seemingly with his penalty killing acumen or his ability to win draws in big moments. He was a hard working battler, characteristics we’ve come to expect from the famous Sutter hockey family of Viking, Alberta.
His dad is Brent, who coach him in juniors in Red Deer before becoming an NHL coach for seven seasons, before returning to once again coach Red Deer. Brent played 1,111 games in the NHL, his son ends up with 770.
Brandon experienced four Stanley Cup playoff visits in his career, the last one coming with the Canucks in the Covid bubble when Vancouver won a best-of-five preliminary round vs. Minnesota, then a six games series against the St. Louis Blues, before losing out to the Vegas Golden Knights in seven games in what would normally be Round-2.
He tallied a goal and six points over the 17 games.
Sutter also made the playoffs all three seasons he was with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team that traded him to Vancouver in July of 2015.
He was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes 11th-overall in 2007 before being traded to Pittsburgh five years later in the deal for Jordan Staal.
Sutter finishes with 152 goals and 137 assists. Most importantly, although his NHL career is over, it sounds like the 34-year-old has most of his health back.
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