It’s been nearly two years since Brandon Sutter appeared in an NHL game. The former Vancouver Canucks forward finished the 2020-21 season with a loss against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and entered the offseason as an unrestricted free agent.
After playing through a five-year, $4.375MM contract as an important leader and role player for the Canucks, he wouldn’t fetch a ton on the open market. He ended up signing a one-year, $1.125MM contract to stay in Vancouver.
Unfortunately, he wouldn’t play a single game on that contract. After showing up to training camp in September 2021, Sutter experienced some unexplained fatigue and was given time to try and recuperate away from the group. By October, he was ruled out indefinitely with long-term symptoms of COVID-19. He would miss the entire season.
Last summer, as a UFA once again, Sutter admitted that he was still dealing with the symptoms and wasn’t sure if he would ever play again. Many assumed that would end his NHL career, given his age and situation.
Not so fast, says the 34-year-old veteran. Speaking with Rick Dhaliwal of CHEK TV today, Sutter explained that he is finally feeling better and that there is “light at the end of the tunnel.” He hopes to play again and will try to catch on somewhere in the fall.
Landing an NHL job will be difficult, but there was a time when Sutter was considered an integral two-way center. As a fourth-line option, perhaps he still has enough juice left to be a helpful addition to a club looking for leadership and work ethic, even in a part-time role.