A fresh face skated on the ice at Nassau Coliseum at Islanders Rookie Camp this week with a familiar surname stitched to the back of his grey practice jersey.
“Obviously, the reputation with the last name is something that you take a lot of pride in, and it’s something that you want to live up to,” said Lukas Sutter, the Islanders 2014 seventh-round draft pick. “The Sutter last name is synonymous with success on Long Island, and you want to continue that tradition.”
Born in St. Louis, MO in 1993, Sutter eventually returned to Lethbridge, Alberta, home of the six Sutter brothers, and rose through the minor hockey ranks. Lukas’ father Rich played for eight NHL franchises, but never the Islanders. Lukas’ uncles Brent and Duane, though, played together on Long Island from 1981–87, winning two Stanley Cups. Former Islanders defenseman, and current Director of Pro Scouting, Ken Morrow played with the Duane and Brent, and remembered each of the six Sutter brothers as coveted assets in the league.
“They weren’t all clones of each other; they all brought something a little different,” Morrow said. “The whole family just is salt-of-the-earth people. They’re hockey royalty. Every team would be fortunate to have a Sutter.”
I can contribute offensively, but I know I’m reliable defensively. I’m a guy who wants to be used in every situation. - Lukas Sutter
Islanders Director of Player Development Eric Cairns said the Islanders want to help Lukas continue to improve, but said the natural center already possesses many traits needed to succeed in the NHL, traits passed down through his hockey lineage.
“You have to have these little intangibles in order to win the battles in order to do the little things on the ice to make an impact, and I think that kind of follows those bloodlines around,” he said. “Watching Lukas play over the past couple years, he has those in him.”
With the organization stocked with depth, talent and youth at every position, Lukas sees opportunity with the team, but understands the need to wait patiently for the right opportunity. But like the first generation of the Sutter family, Lukas’ versatility and adaptability are strong suits and add value to the organization. Those are the traits he sees himself utilizing when trying to crack the NHL lineup.
“Obviously, there’s room for some opportunity and it’s something you want to take advantage of,” he said. “I think one advantage I have over a lot of guys is I’ve always been a role player and it’s not and adjustment for me to know how to play a first, second, third or fourth line role. I can be relied on in all three forward positions.”
|Brent (L) and Duane (R) Sutter won two Stanley Cups together on Long Island. |
The Islanders gave Sutter a second chance of sorts. Originally drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the second round of the 2012 NHL Draft, Lukas re-entered the draft in 2014, and fell to the Islanders in the seventh round. Battling through injuries last season with the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League, Lukas took the time to grow off the ice and transformed into a professional player with substantial support from Rebels Head Coach, uncle, and former Islander Brent Sutter. The Sutter brothers forged successful NHL careers through the ability to play different roles on the ice, a trait Lukas prides in.
“I think I’m just a two-way centerman,” he said. “I can contribute offensively, but I know I’m reliable defensively. I’m a guy who wants to be used in every situation.”
Now equipped with how to take the step to the professional ranks, Lukas appears ready to make the leap from juniors to the Islanders and continue on the family tradition.