Well, with the expansion draft upon us it looks like many teams are finally being forced to make decisions they probably should have made years ago.
And if the Canucks were to adopt that kind of thinking, their protected list might be a little different than it is expected to be.
As I’m sure you loyal Canucks Army readers recall, it was almost six months ago that our own JD Burke suggested that Brandon Sutter should be exposed in expansion draft, and since then the #ExposeSutter movement has taken on a life of its own.
And while Sutter is a player that Jim Benning once definitely didn’t compare to both Patrice Bergeron and Jonathan Toews, this is a perfect opportunity for the Canucks to forget what they gave up to acquire him, forget the contribution they thought they would get from him, and cut their losses. Because much like Dan Girardi, there’s not many other options with this contract.
Not only does Sutter have a No Trade Clause, he’s just not worth the value on that contract.
Heck, he’s barely playing at a fourth line level:
But despite that performance, he’s getting top line ice time and second line money. Sure, he has a good shot and can score some goals, but as a top-of-the-roster NHL centre, he needs to be able to distribute the puck and create offense. Instead, his stick is where pucks go to die.
Benning thought he was getting a player that would anchor this roster for years, and instead he just got his own anchor:
But despite the possibility of getting out from under that contract, there’s no guarantee that George McPhee would take it off Jim Benning’s hands. What exposing Sutter would definitely do, however, is ensure the Canucks can keep Brendan Gaunce.
Look, I’m not comparing him to Brandon Sutter, but when he was in Carolina, Sutter started out with 6 points in 50 games getting fourth line minutes. Look at Markus Kruger (in Chicago). That’s how you shut down opposing forwards. When we look at Brendan Gaunce and all the things he brings, he’s going to be in the next wave of core players. His best hockey is still ahead of him.
Anyway, whatever you may think of the relative values of Sutter and Gaunce, this is certainly a better idea than trading trade Chris Tanev so that you can protect Luca Sbisa. I mean, there are plenty of reasons why you should trade Tanev, if you get the right assets in return, but protecting Sbisa is definitely not one of them.
But I guess that’s the kind of idea we should expect from 200 hockey men. Presumably, the same 200 that have a “tough time wrapping their head around protecting a guy with no goals,” but don’t seem to bat an eyelash when it is suggested that the Leafs should protect Matt Martin or that the Blues are considering protecting Ryan Reaves.
And with all that being said, I should give Benning props for being right about one thing. Sutter really is a lot like Patrice Bergeron:
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