Brandon Sutter has had a month to get over the shock of being traded for the first time in his hockey career. Now he says he's excited at the thought of playing with his new team, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"I'm looking forward to it," he said Wednesday during a media conference call. "At first it was tough -- it was the first time I'd ever been traded, I was in a place where I was comfortable.
"It's a tough thing to go through, no matter who you are. At first it kind of takes you aback and it's a little disappointing, but you start to think about it and you get excited. Once I meet the guys and start skating it will be awesome. I'm getting really pumped about it."
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Sutter was part of the return the Penguins received from the Carolina Hurricanes when they dealt center Jordan Staal on the first night of the NHL Draft in Pittsburgh last month. Sutter figures to fill the same roll that Staal played -- a third-line center with some offensive skill who slots in behind all-world players Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
Despite getting minimal power-play time on a team that boasts Eric Staal and 2011 Calder Trophy winner Jeff Skinner as its first two centers, Sutter still scored 17 goals and put up 32 points.
He said he envisions a similar role in Pittsburgh, but added that playing for a winning team helps make the lack of offensive opportunities more palatable.
"Where I was before, I liked my role there," he said. "I feel it's going to be kind of similar here. But there were times [in Carolina] where I didn't get much opportunity offensively at all. There was no power play, no nothing, ever. That's fine when you're winning, but when you're not winning, it's kind of frustrating.
"I'm looking forward to play with what they want me to do and I know what my role is going to be. I haven't talked with [coach] Dan [Bylsma] about that yet, but I think it's pretty clear what I'm going to be doing. I'm looking forward to it, and I'm excited to see who I'll be playing with."
Sutter is part of the second generation of one of hockey's most famous families. His father is Brent Sutter, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the New York Islanders in the 1980s and an NHL coach in New Jersey and Calgary after spending seven seasons running the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League -- where Brandon played under his tutelage. Five of the 23-year-old's uncles also spent significant time in the NHL, and three cousins have played in the League or been drafted.
Brandon said he didn't feel any pressure trying to live up to the family name.
"I think everyone sort of makes it that way," he said. "But from the time I was drafted, from day one, I said I want to be my own player. It doesn't matter what your name is, you have to go out there and do the job.
"It's a tough thing to go through, no matter who you are. At first it kind of takes you aback and it's a little disappointing, but you start to think about it and you get excited. Once I meet the guys and start skating it will be awesome. I'm getting really pumped about it." -- Penguins forward Brandon Sutter
"I definitely take pride in it. It's obviously kind of a cool scenario with what my dad and uncles have done. I just go out there and play my game -- but fortunately for me, I have a few guys I can call if I ever have questions about anything. That can make it easy."
Though Sutter said he wouldn't miss some of the travel in the Southeast Division -- "that's fine with me" he said when asked about the closer proximity of Atlantic Division opponents -- he said the easier travel is balanced out by playing in a tougher division.
"This has always been the toughest division in the League, I think -- the Rangers, the Flyers, the Devils, even the Islanders," he said. "I don’t think there's any game this year where there's a pushover team any more. Every team is good. Last year the Islanders beat us four times, and they were looked at as the weakest team. I think every team is pretty even, and that's why every night is such a battle."