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Fantasy Spin: Penguins' Sutter viable replacement

by Pete Jensen

Brandon Sutter has had his share of ups and downs in his first season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but Wednesday could prove to be the start of his next point-production surge.

Sutter (owned in only 6 percent of Yahoo! leagues) scored the game-tying goal late in the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers to snap his four-game pointless streak. That slump was preceded by a five-game point streak from Feb. 2-9. Prior to that stretch, Sutter had only one assist to show for himself over his first seven games of the season.

Brandon Sutter
Center - PIT
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 7
SOG: 31 | +/-: 4
Judging by the peaks and valleys he's experienced so far in 2012-13, Sutter, 24, is not quite a center you can lean on for consistent point production. That being said, he still holds value in deep leagues -- especially as a temporary injury replacement on your roster.

If your lineup has been affected by recent injuries to center-eligible assets (Jeff Skinner, Brandon Dubinsky, etc.), Sutter is a short-term option worth pursuing. He had season-highs in shots on goal (5) and rating (plus-2) in Wednesday's loss to the Flyers, centering the Penguins' third line with Tyler Kennedy and rookie Beau Bennett since he was recalled last week.

It also can never hurt to suit up for a club that sits among the top 5 in the NHL standings entering Thursday's action. While Sutter (7 points, plus-4, 4 PIM, 2 PPP, 31 SOG, 11 hits in 17 games) is only averaging 1:24 per game of power-play time, any time spent on a unit with a 27.5 conversion percentage (2nd in NHL) can result in occasional production.

So while Sutter may be situated behind a pair of top-5 overall fantasy assets in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the Penguins' depth chart, that doesn't mean he can't be utilized on your roster if you're in need of depth at the center position.


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