So I have been seeing a lot of peoples line ups for defense from the media and on the boards, and I can not help but notice Andy Sutton's name almost never being in the top 6.
I absolutly loved watching this guy last year. Rarely out of position. Big hitter. Great reach/stick work. Gets beat outside once in a while by pure speed but typicaly recovers with sound positioning and reach. He blew my mind a few times with his puck control and some sweet dangles. Size, grit, and a mean streak to boot. Also understands his role and sits whenever needed. Defends the kids. Great in the locker room from what I hear. The guy is rock solid in every aspect of the game.
In short this guy is exactly what Edmonton needs playing night in and night out if we want to make the playoffs. The team seemed vastly better with him in the line-up than when he was out.
I understand they need to develope some of this young talent on the back end but if he plays like he did last year I think it would be foolish to keep throwing guys like: Potter, Fedun, Peckam, Tuebert etc... on the ice. Hell, I thought most night Andy Sutton out played Whitney.
Why is everybody putting him in a 7-8 spot when he is a great 5-6 guy from what I have seen?
On this team, I think you need to role with 6 top-4 guys. You're probably not going to have a legit #1 or even a consistent #2, so if you can roll with 5-6 guys who can play 20 minutes a night, you'll be able to weather the storm a lot better.
Sutton as a #7 let's us insert an useful player into the line-up when injury inevitably strikes. It's important to have actual NHL players in that hole, and not AHL level players like Peckham.
It's a HUGE wildcard who will get the top spot on the R. I think it will be Petry simply because of his handedness. I think people are downplaying the recovery Whitney will have with this offseason, but that's a different discussion.
Bottom Pairing: The guy, out of those 5, who doesn't make it in the top 4 + Sutton/Peckham/Potter
I'd be shocked if he plays fewer than 50 games next season.
He and Peckham are the only pugilistic types that we offer as NHL regulars on the back end. Sutton himself, was on the giving end of several bone-crushing hits last season. Pair that with veteran leadership and an obvious offensive prowess and you've got yourself a bonafide top-six defenseman.
Agree with the OP, I think Sudsy did a great job for a bottom pairing defender. He gets uneccessarilly dumped on which I think is unfair. I hope he is on the third pairing come the start of the season.
I'll say this for that pair, what they may lack a bit in mobility they make up for with a good first pass, excellent in Whitney's case.
If those were the pairs, I would be comfortable with that, I would still like another veteran or top-4 guy there though.
Agreed. Been saying that for awhile now. That's one thing going for Whitney. With Hall and Yakupov (cheats a lot) ready to be sprung, it's the one thing that can really put Whitney's abilities to its full effect even if he can't skate anymore.
My main problem with Sutton being in the top six is that Potter will be one of the first defencemen to step in if an injury happens. I'd rather sign another defencemen, push Sutton into the seventh spot and hopefully never see Potter in Oilers colours again.