The Vancouver Canucks have lost Brandon Sutter for the rest of the season, after announcing the forward will undergo sports hernia surgery on his right side. He is expected to be out for six to eight weeks, which would rule him out from playing again in 2018-19 unless the Canucks make it deep in the playoffs. Sutter already underwent hernia surgery on his left side in 2015 and has missed nearly a month for the Canucks already, last suiting up on February 9th.
Sutter has been a disappointment since being selected 11th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2007. The 30-year old forward now has just 260 points in his 683-game NHL career, and never even truly became the lock-down defensive center that some believed he could be. For the Canucks he has recorded just 37 goals in 188 games but still has two years remaining on his contract at an average annual value of $4.375MM. He’ll finish this season with just six points in 26 games.
While the team hasn’t expressed any indication as to their plans this summer, Sutter is an interesting player to watch as the Canucks prepare to compete next season. His full no-trade clause changes into just a 15-team list, while there is also some buyout potential with just two years left on his deal. Vancouver has three center spots locked up with Bo Horvat, Elias Pettersson and Jay Beagle, and may want to move on to a younger option for the fourth.
There is also the issue of his effectiveness next season even months removed from surgery, as hernia operations often have lingering effects on NHL players. If a buyout is considered at all, Sutter would have to be fully healthy.