Brandon Sutter had a disappointing debut season with the Canucks. He started strong, opening the season on a line with the Sedin twins, and granted, that's the easiest way to start strong, but Sutter still impressed with seven points in his first 11 games. But then he ran into injury troubles, and closed the season on the IR with just nine points to his name. Meanwhile, the guy he was traded for, Nick Bonino, went on to win the Stanley Cup in his stead.
But it's worth noting that, when Sutter was in the Vancouver lineup, he was an effective middle-six forward. And while nine points is am embarassing total for the guy touted as the Canucks' answer at second-line centre, it's a touch less embarassing when you remember he only played 20 games. On a points per game basis, Sutter and Bonino actually came out even (both were on pace for 37 points over an 82-game season), which makes it a pretty decent swap, provided you ignore that Vancouver also sent a prospect and a draft pick for some reason, then handed Sutter a contract from Jim Benning's dreamworld, where Sutter had already been named an All-Star and gave the Canucks a sweetheart deal.
Either way, the jury's still out on that trade, since Sutter has yet to even play half a season's worth of games as a Canuck, and after watching his five goals from last season, hope remains that a Canucks fan could eventually make peace with the deal that brought him here: Sutter's got some skill. This collection of scores showcases his speed, his hand-eye coordination, and his quick wrister.
Anyway. Here's hoping next year's collection of Brandon Sutter goals takes longer to put together.
1 | October 7 vs Calgary Flames
Brandon Sutter's first as a Canuck comes, as so many players before him, during a stint on the top line with the Sedin twins. It's a plum gig, as Daniel and Henrik are so dangerous together that they garner a lot of attention, leaving room for the third Sedin to create offence -- plus they're so skilled that they're likely to find their man even when the opposition loses him. Granted, Daniel Sedin finds Sutter here by accident, attempting to thread a pass through to his brother that instead reaches Karri Ramo rather harmlessly. He deflects it away, but the puck jumps into the air, where Sutter -- all alone, because, again, he's not a Sedin -- is able to flex his hand-eye coordination, tap it out of the air, and register his first as a Canuck.
2 | October 16 vs St. Louis Blues
Sutter's second as a Canuck is also his 100th as an NHLer, and as milestone goals go, it's a good one. The last thing you want on a milestone is a cheesy deflection or some such other relatively unearned tally. This one's just a good shot. After a loose puck squirts to Sutter during a penalty kill, he takes off with Alex Burrows on a two-on-one. The defender shades to Burrows, which is reasonable -- since Burrows reached the 100-goal mark all the way back in 2010 -- and Sutter takes advantage of all the open ice, beating Jake Allen with a shot the goaltender didn't even seem to expect. Not sure what he thought Sutter was going to do instead. Pass it to Crosby, maybe? If so, Jake Allen needs to update his rosters.
3 | October 24 vs Detroit Red Wings
Sutter finishes off a beautiful passing play here, sliding into the slot on a power play and playing the "toe" to Bo Horvat and Alex Burrows's "tic" and "tac". Fittingly, for a Tic Tac, this is some mint passing. And Sutter's shot, the "toe", is so labelled you could call it a toe tag. I don't care how lame that joke was. It's August.
4 | November 10 vs Columbus Blue Jackets
This is arguably Sutter's finest goal of the year, as he flashes a top gear that surprised everyone, from the fans watching at home to the defenders on the ice. After Jannik Hansen muscles his way into the neutral zone with control of the puck, he hands off to Sutter, who dashes around his man, then beats Sergei Bobrovsky to the far post. Speed like that is exciting and scary. Jessie Spano knows.
5 | January 26 vs Nashville Predators
Finally, we close out Sutter's promising, but injury-shortened year with some Sedinery, as the centre connects with Daniel Sedin to hang one on the Predators. A quick outlet pass from Chris Tanev catches Nashville on a change, allowing the Canucks to break in with numbers. With Alex Edler streaking down the wing, the Predators have to respect a one-timer from the dot, but instead, the Canucks pull off the classic give-and-go. Sutter leaves for Daniel, heads to the net, immediately gets the puck back via a classic Sedin saucer, and scores. Meanwhile, Alex Edler acts happy, but is secretly crushed to have been left out. Alex Edler's totally emo.