Lee Sweatt: International Man of Mystery

Thomas Drance
July 09 2011 10:28PM


Diminutive offensive defenseman Lee Sweatt poses with the game-puck after his first NHL goal - a game winner against Nashville on January 26th.

What is going on with Lee Sweatt?

The 5 foot 9 Ellburn, Illinois native and older brother of Canucks prospect Bill Sweatt, signed a 2-way deal with the Canucks last summer. He had previously bounced around Europe, playing parts of two seasons in the SM-Liga (he won the Finnish championship with TPS Turku), a season in the KHL, and a season in the Austrian pro-league. Though his term with the Canucks wasn't particularly long, it certainly was eventful, and his departure remains shrouded in mystery. Lets review:

In December, just as Cody Hodgson was finding his groove and beginning to play at a point-per-game pace - he broke his orbital bone - the result of a freak accident in practice. How did this freak accident occur? Why, it was the result of an errant high-stick from Lee Sweatt.

When Kevin Bieksa got hurt in late January, Lee Sweatt was tapped to dress against Nashville. In the dressing room before the game, his Canucks teammates serenaded him with chants of "Rudy, Rudy, Rudy" in reference to his lack of size. It was super adorable. Then during the third period, something pretty damn incredible (and also rather droll) happened:

Yes Lee "Rudy" Sweatt had scored one of the regular seasons most memorable tallies. Two games later he added an assist, bringing his total haul for the season to two points in three games. A few days later, with Sweatt about to be sent back down to the Moose - he broke his foot blocking a shot in practice. As a result he couldn't be sent down, instead he collected an NHL paycheck for the remainder of the season.

What's strange about Lee Sweatt's injury - is that no-one ever reported an update on his condition after he went down. In the Stanley Cup Finals, the Canucks called Nolan Baumgartner while he was on vacation, and asked him to rejoin the team because they were so low on right-sided D-men. No one, however, released any news about Lee Sweatt's availability or condition. Quite honestly, if you follow the Canucks closely - it was as if Lee Sweatt had fallen into the Mystery Spot with Ozzie Smith.

Late in June, it was revealed that Mike Gillis had decided not to qualify Lee Sweatt. Despite Sweatt's penchant for injuring top-prospects in practice, and suffering timely injuries to keep himself on the NHL payroll - this decision came as a bit of a surprise. Consider the location of the Canucks new AHL affiliate, it seemed like a couple of local brothers would be a perfect marketing opportunity for the Chicago Wolves. 

Which brings us to Thursday, when Scott Norton who represents Lee Sweatt, tweeted that he had completed an agreement with some team and his client:

Then last night, his brother Bill teased us with this detail free tweet, that he never deleted, or followed up on:

Quite seriously, go to Bill Sweatt's twitter account, he hasn't tweeted since, though 37 people (myself included) have tweeted at him in the last 24 hours asking some variation of "with who?"

Strange, right? I wonder if the deal with the mystery team hit a snag, or maybe, Lee Sweatt is just addicted to drama. Either way, Lee Sweatt's tenure with the Canucks has been nothing if not eventful and strange.

[UPDATE: The suspense is over! CTV's Kelcey Brade reported on Twitter that Lee Sweatt has inked a 2-way, 2 year deal with the Ottawa Senators. Good luck Lee, Canucks Nation wishes you the best!]

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 Kent Wilson
July 10 2011, 09:34AM
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Huh. Kind of an odd saga.

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#2 Kent Wilson
July 10 2011, 09:44AM
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Just to update...this from NortonSports on twitter re: Lee Sweatt:

"hope to be public tomorrow. Hint 1 - team is in @NHL. Hint 2 - team is in Eastern Conference."

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