It would seem as though the race is on between two famous hockey families in the Hurricanes organization.
The team’s seventh-round selection of forward Brody Sutter in this summer’s draft gives it the rights to three Sutters, with cousins Brandon and Brett already in the fold. All three are the sons of former NHL players, with the previous generation of the family featuring six brothers who spent significant time in the league.
Brody’s addition to Team Sutter breaks an internal deadlock with Team Staal, which boasts two players in brothers Eric and Jared.
“Once we got two Staals, I guess they figured we needed three Sutters,” said a chuckling Brandon Sutter.
While Brandon Sutter and Eric Staal are clearly established in core leadership roles in the current Hurricanes team, their still-developing relatives are still working towards that goal. In the case of the Sutters, a scenario in which the similarly-named trio play on the same team could cause some significant headaches.
“It would be a nightmare for Chuck Kaiton,” said Brandon.
“I’m not sure what they’d do with the nameplates,” said Brody.
The Canes’ addition of Brody, who was in town to attend the teams’ conditioning camp this week, came as something of a surprise to the Sutter family. Brody, 19, was one round away from making it through his second year of draft eligibility with no takers. He did attend the Buffalo Sabres’ development camp and the Florida Panthers’ main training camp last summer, but neither team offered him a contract.
That made his eventual selection even sweeter, particularly when his family discovered his new destination.
“I was really excited,” said Brody. “(Brandon, Brett and I) grew up playing street hockey together in the summer and would all pretend to be on the same line.”
“It was pretty funny,” said Brandon. “After the draft my mom called and asked me if I had heard about Brody. I was excited and asking where he went, and when she told me Carolina I just started laughing.”
At 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, Brody is the most imposing physical presence of the three cousins. That alone was probably enough for teams to give him a look last season, but his greatly increased scoring totals – he notched 42 points (18g, 24a) in 46 games for the Western Hockey League’s Lethbridge Hurricanes last season, up from 14 points in 72 contests the season prior – indicate he has skills to match his size.
“Because I had a good year and I’m a big guy, I thought someone might want to take a chance on me,” said Brody of his expectations going into this year’s draft. “Last year I got an opportunity to play an offensive role with good players instead of being slapped on the third line, so that helped.
“I don’t think it’s bad that I got picked up in the second year, because I ended up in a better situation.”
Brody Sutter will continue to develop in Lethbridge next season, meaning that the three cousins will likely start on different teams once again. Brett, a 24-year-old restricted free agent, is expected to sign another two-way deal with the Hurricanes this summer that will likely see him begin the year with the American Hockey League’s Charlotte Checkers.
However, with some hard work and a little luck, the three could eventually be reunited, much as they were as kids growing up in Alberta.
“Hopefully we get to the point where we can all play together,” said Brandon. “For now, we’ll wait for that to happen and worry about the nicknames later.”