The draft has come and gone, and qualifying offers have been extended (or not in some cases). Now is time for teams to supplement their teams through free agency, or dump bad contracts. Although the Detroit Red Wings do not seem to be a team that will be doing a cannonball into the free agency pool, there are some shrewd moves that can be made. I believe that signing 25 year old Pius Suter is one of those moves that General Manager Steve Yzerman should strongly consider.
What The Wings Would Be Getting With Suter
Suter is the type of player that is tough to play against. Not because he is physically imposing at 5’11” and 180 pounds, but because when he is on the ice, he treats it as his job to retrieve the puck. He was noticeable when he was on the ice for the Blackhawks and not just because he played with Patrick Kane. His in-your-face style created opportunities out of thin air, and I believe we can agree that this year’s Red Wings team could have used more of those. As for points, Suter had about a point every other game while accruing 27 points through 55 games. Although his point total is not outstanding, the makeup of his points is important. Netting 14 goals while adding 13 assists shows a propensity for making good plays rather than leaning into bad shots, or forcing passes.
Reunited and It Would Feel So Good
Suter has a history with a couple of players on this Red Wings squad. He was linemates with Tyler Bertuzzi and Robby Fabbri in 2014-2015 when they skated for the Guelph Storm. Although not on the same line as Suter, Givani Smith was also on that team. By no means am I trying to say that the key to rebuilding a successful Red Wings team starts with recreating this line. What I am saying, however, is that Suter would already have friends in the locker room and sometimes that can help ease a transition. Recapturing some chemistry could also create a formidable second line for Jeff Blashill. A line of Bertuzzi – Suter – Fabbri that would allow Jakub Vrana to slot into the top line with Dylan Larkin and Filip Zadina. The formation of these two lines would give the Red Wings a scoring punch they lacked in the past season.
What is at Risk?
Worst case scenario, is that they sign Suter to a short-term bridge deal, and it does not work out. Maybe he gets squeezed out by some of the young talent Detroit has ascending through the ranks? At that point in time, the Red Wings could move on from him relatively easily. The cap space that the Red Wings have, make taking on a middling salary of a player like Suter a risk worth taking. As other players like Vladislav Namestnikov, Frans Nielsen, and others start to fall off of the books, the impact this signing would make is minimal. If Suter does take a step forward, but is outside of the Red Wings rebuilding timeline, than they could always move him. At the end of the day, the signing could provide upside with minimal risk.
The fact of the matter is that Suter is coming off of a rookie season where he averaged just about 0.5 points per game (ppg). It is worth it to see if there is another step forward that the forward can take at just 25 years of age. He is not one of the headliners in this year’s free agent class, but he could provide upside that would coincide with the Red Wings becoming competitive again. This acquisition seems to have many of the qualities of a typical Yzerman move. I for one would like to see Suter as part of the Yzerplan.