2017-18 Team: Everett Silvertips (#14)
Date of Birth: October 25, 1999
Place of Birth: Calgary, Alberta
Ht: 6’2″ Wt: 201 lbs
Position: Right Wing
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2018 first-year eligible
- THW (Pike’s Picks): 77th(final)
- Future Considerations: 100th (final)
- ISS: not in top 31 (final)
- Bob McKenzie: 84th (final)
- Craig Button: 93rd (final)
History will be made at the 2018 NHL Draft as the final second generation member of the Sutter clan hits the draft floor. The son of Ron Sutter, Everett Silvertips winger Riley Sutter is one of the older first-year eligible players (due to his October birthday) and has a ton of major-junior experience. He’s hoping to translate a large sample size into a good draft position, though he may be limited by his skating and some concerns about his progression.
It goes without saying that Sutter has tremendous bloodlines. His father, Ron, played over 1,000 NHL games and has worked with the Flames for over a decade in scouting and player development. His uncles also made a mark on the hockey world and provide Riley with invaluable resources, as do his five cousins who were drafted by NHL clubs: Shaun (Flames, 1998), Brett (Flames, 2005), Brandon (Hurricanes, 2007), Brody (Hurricanes, 2011) and Lukas (Jets, 2012). Needless to say, Riley knows what he’s getting into with the draft process.
Sutter was a big part of Everett’s march to the WHL Championship series this season. He played tough minutes in a two-way role, often being trusted by his coach to shut down the opposition’s top players. He’s got size, physicality and hockey sense that translates in him knowing where to be and what to do in all three zones. He even played some center during the year and performed fairly well, a testament to his hard work and versatility.
His skating’s arguably his biggest gap – his acceleration and maneuverability aren’t high-end – but at the WHL level his smarts and situational awareness have allowed him to get by. He also hasn’t also seen the offensive progression that’s usually seen from high-end prospects, particularly those with his level of junior experience: his offensive production in 2017-18 was only slightly higher than 2016-17 in terms of points per game and almost flat in terms of goals per game. Some of that was due to his role as a shut-down player, but it may still be cause for some concern.
Sutter is a responsible two-way player with size, hockey sense and a playing style that lends itself to the pro game. However, his skating needs work and his offensive game isn’t quite where you would hope it would be if he was going to turn into a high-end NHL prospect. But due to his age and level of WHL experience there isn’t much of an unknown factor with him; it’s relatively easy to project his performance to higher levels of hockey. The NHL could be in the cards for him, but he’ll need to improve his skating and his killer instinct in the offensive zone to become more than a depth piece.
Riley Sutter – NHL Draft Projection
Sutter could go as early as the third round or as late as the fifth round. His size, maturity and defensive abilities should net him a fifth round selection, at minimum, but whether he goes earlier depends on if a team thinks he has untapped offensive depths.
“Sutter comes from a long line of hockey players. Entering his third season with Everett, Sutter is coming off a 20-goal season that saw him get 11 of those on the power play. His long reach gives him the ability to poke pucks loose and keep the puck away from defencemen. Likes to play inside the dots and collect passes and get off a shot quickly. Good two-way player who calls himself a playmaker but the loves to shoot. Good anticipation gives him the edge to get in front of defenders and gain advantage of space in front of the net and around the crease. Does a good job of opening up space for himself and getting open. Has good physical size but is rarely seen engaging in any physical play but it will continue to grow along with him.” – Marshall MacKinder, Hockey Now
.@WHLsilvertips RW Riley Sutter, No. 80 in @NHLCentralScout final North American rnks, had a 1-2-3, +4, 17/32 faceoffs, to lead Silvertips to Game 5 win in WHL championship Rd vs Swift Current on Fri. SC still holds 3-2 series lead. Riley is son of frmr NHLer Ron Sutter
— Mike Morreale (@mikemorrealeNHL) May 12, 2018
- Effective situational awareness in all three zones
- Anticipates the opposition’s offensive attacks well
- Has a big frame that can pack on more muscle
- Plays a mean, physical game when necessary
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Needs to work on his skating, particularly his first few steps
- Needs to speed up his decision-making in the offensive zone
- Could stand to shoot the puck more often
Other 2018 NHL Draft Profiles
Sutter projects as a bottom six winger at the NHL level. If his offense doesn’t materialize, he’s smart enough to be an effective checking winger. If his offense comes along, he could be a third line agitator who chips in with some scoring here and there.
Risk – 1/5, Reward – 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense 7.5/10, Defense 8.5/10
Sutter has yet to represent Canada at a major international event or capture a major award or trophy.
Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames and the NHL Draft extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and Senior Contributing Editor of FlamesNation.ca. A member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, he lives in Calgary.