2017 may not be over just yet, but it’s no secret that executives and scouts across the NHL are already eyeing the 2018 draft class. Among the early contenders to be worthy of a first round pick is a familiar name: Sutter. The latest in the long line of family royalty is 18-year-old Riley Sutter, a right wing for the WHL’s Everett Silvertips and very likely a top pick this June.
Riley Sutter is the son of Ron Sutter, who likely has him beat in terms of draft position. Ron was the fourth overall pick in 1982 by the Philadelphia Flyers, whom he played with for nine seasons to begin his 1000+ game NHL career. Ron’s twin brother, Riley’s uncle, Rich Sutter was famously selected six slot behind his brother in 1982, tenth overall by the rival Pittsburgh Penguins. Riley’s other uncles include Brian Sutter, the long-time captain of the St. Louis Blues drafted in the second round in 1976, Duane Sutter, the 17th overall pick in 1979, Brent Sutter, the 17th overall pick a year later and arguably the best of the Sutter brothers with over 800 points in his 17-year career (and a former NHL coach to boot), and, of course, the most relevant of the Sutters right now, recently relieved Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter, who also played 400+ NHL games. Then there’s the next generation of Sutters, Riley’s cousins, highlighted by Vancouver Canucks center and 2007 11th overall pick Brandon Sutter, Brent’s son. Cousins Shaun Sutter, Brett Sutter, Brody Sutter, and Lukas Sutter were all additionally drafted into the NHL, but have not come close to the success of their fathers and uncles or even Brandon. Riley hopes to end the streak of underwhelming Sutter’s once he is drafted this June.
So what does the youngest Sutter bring to the table? The 6’2″, 201-lb. forward has a power forward frame and began to find his scoring touch last season with 39 points, including 20 goals, in 67 games for the Silvertips. Early in 2017-18, that pace has picked up. Sutter has 13 points, again the majority of which are goals, in his first 16 games. A physical game at his age is attractive enough, but the scoring touch and quick skating he has displayed, as well as the undeniable intangibles of being from hockey royalty, have boosted Sutter up draft boards. In the latest rankings from International Scouting Services, Sutter is up all the way to 16th, helped out by his early results (as well as a severe lack of right wings at the top of the class). If he can keep his scoring up, Riley very well could be the latest Sutter to be a first round pick and may even be able to push to become the second highest-drafted family member, behind his own father, if he can crack the top ten in June.