Hurricanes already know a little about the Sutter family with Brandon and Brett being in the organization for years now. Those two have already left their marks in Raleigh and Charlotte respectively, but one member of the Sutter brood who fans may not know much about is their cousin Brody Sutter. Drafted in the 7th round last year, there isn't much expected from Sutter but he was the best player on the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL last year with 30 goals, 60 points in 65 games. Of course, Lethbridge was a pretty bad team last year and Sutter was one of the older players on the squad but it's hard to deny that he had an impressive season.
Sutter didn't really emerge as a huge goal-scoring threat until last season when he netted 30 but his number shave been gradually improving ever since he entered the WHL. Before last season, Sutter was more known for being a solid forechecker and wasn't depended on to do more than that but his offense has really come around these last couple of years. It is also worth mentioning that he had 42 points in 46 games the previous year when he had a shoulder injury so it isn't like this offensive output came from completely out of the blue. I have my doubts about him repeating this kind of a season, though because hot streaks always happen with a lot of players and that may have been the case with Sutter last season. A player going from 18 to 30 goals in one season does seem a bit fishy.
It is also very likely that Sutter could spend this coming season in Charlotte as he got to play four games with the Checkers last season, and the team will have a better idea of what they have in him if he can stick it in the pros. Sutter should be on the Checkers because the team has open center spots available and could potentially have a few more openings depending on who makes the Hurricanes out of camp. There could be a position battle between him and Victor Rask but Sutter has been able to perform well in a bottom-six role in the past so I think he will be fine on the fourth line. He is going to turn 21 when the season starts, so him making the AHL next season is probably a better sign for his development than him spending another year in juniors.
Whether or not Sutter's fantastic season at Lethbridge was an aberration remains to be seen but most scouts have him projected to be a bottom-six forward with limited offensive upside. I'm not sure if they could have ever predicted him scoring 30 goals but there always seem to be a lot of high-scoring junior players who don't end up amounting to much at the next level. Sutter could end up being one of those players but it's possible that he has turned into much more than that and the Canes might have a potentially useful player on their hands. We will probably know more about him and his future once he starts to play more games in Charlotte, though.
An important thing to remember about Sutter is that he is pretty big for a 20 year old and he was just on the cusp of being an over-ager last year, so he could end up being a lot better than his 7th round draft position indicates. He was also pretty young when he had his 42 point season the year before and has seen his offensive output get bigger every season, which is why he ranks within the top 20 on this list. That could change if he has a down year at Charlotte or ends up spending another season at Lethbridge but as of right now, I think Sutter has some decent potential and this next coming season will tell us more about him.
Brody Sutter is the kind of big, power forward who takes a while to gain the body coordination it takes to be successful. I don't doubt at all that he is a scorer. One area in which the hockey community needs some more work is in having the patience it takes to nurture power forwards or rather big-framed forwards who have some skill but need time to let their complete game mature.
The Hurricanes as an organization haven't had much experience developing power forwards; and that's one reason the team has struggled to keep up with the NHL trend toward bigger, powerful forwards. At minimum Brody Sutter will develop into a two way center or forward on the third or fourth line.