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Insider Only Sutter looking to expand his game offensively in third-line center role

Sutter: “I just don’t want to get stuck playing defense every shift”
Brandon Sutter, the center piece of the Penguins return in the Jordan Staal trade, held a conference call this afternoon speaking for the first time since being traded to Pittsburgh on Friday night.
Here are some highlights from the call:
The trade was a surprise to Sutter which is why he didn’t talk immediately after the trade. “First all, this is the first time I’ve been traded, so it is a whole new feeling for me. I didn’t really see it coming, ” Sutter said. “Bit of a shock to system, especially last couple days, and now I’m a little bit relaxed.”
Sutter received the call from former Penguin great Ron Francis.
“I was at a friends place and got a call from Ron Francis, ” Sutter said on when being told by Hurricanes management that he was traded.
While the trade was a shock to Sutter and he loved playing in Carolina, he now eyes an opportunity to play in the playoffs.
“For me, four years into my career now, I’ve still yet to play a playoff game, ” Sutter said. ” For me I’m at the point right now it’s about winning. Want to help with that.”
“With the two guys down the middle, playing behind them going to be a big opportunity for me. Like I said before, I just want to win some games and looking forward to the opportunity of playing with some great players.
The most interesting comments from Sutter were about the fact that he became frustrated at times in Carolina about his role of being regarded as a defensive shutdown centerman. He’s looking to expand his game offensively and feels there’s more room to produce from his third line center role and that he was held back to some extent in Carolina.

“One thing that I did mention to them {CAR management}, felt at times was stuck {defensively} as they were expecting me to play defensively which is fine, {but} as in terms of offense, there weren’t a whole lot of opportunites. I think it comes with playing with different guys and getting different chemistry. I don’t want to just be looked at as a defensive player. I want to score goals and I think in the past I’ve had the opportunity to play on the power play here and there, and I think I’m very comfortable on the Penalty kill, checking and stuff like that, and if you can combine those two, you make yourself a good player.”
In Pittsburgh, Sutter’s role to grow offensively could be there due to a deeper roster and an uptempo offensive style system under head coach Dan Bylsma.
“In the role I’m in I think there’s ways to produce more offense, ” Sutter said. “I think playing with maybe different players, and in terms of the roster, were deeper than what we were in Carolina and playing with more talented players can help, I just think different system or whatever.”
“I just don’t want to get stuck playing defense every shift, ” Sutter later added.
Sutter’s best answer came when asked of whether he feels pressure to replace Jordan Staal. “Im coming in to do what I’ve done. I’m my own player, not here to replace anyone.”
The Penguins have big expectations for Sutter on the penalty kill and he’s an opportunistic player as he scored three shorthanded goals last season. “When you have a chance to go, you go for it, ” Sutter said on trying to score shorthanded.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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