According to TSN.ca the Dallas Stars have acquired forward Brian Sutherby from the Anaheim Ducks, sending back the NHL rights to David McIntyre and a conditional draft pick. Sutherby is in the final season of a deal with a $700K cap hit.
McIntyre is a middling prospect — he was a fifth round pick in 2006, and has a reputation as an excellent skater with good hands and a willingness to play a gritty game. He had 32 points in 39 games for Colgate University last season, and leads the team this year with 12 points in 14 games. The best Oilers’ comparable is probably Bryan Lerg, who is a little smaller but has very similar scouting reports and better offensive totals.
The interesting player in this deal is Brian Sutherby. Sutherby’s generally listed as a centre, but he’s spent quite a bit of time on the wing the last couple of seasons in Anaheim. Sutherby’s 6’3” and 215lbs, and this season has six points in 17 games. He’s been hot and cold on offence for the last few years — in 2005-06 he scored 30 points in 76 games, while last season he had two points in 50 games.
Here are some of the key stats for Sutherby:
Time On Ice: 5:46 EV, 1:16 SH
RTSS: 10.6 Hits/60, 48.9 FO%
Penalties: 3 majors, 2 minors
Outshooting: 74 shots for, 81 shots against
Behind the Net Even-Strength: 4.29 PTS/60, 4.90 GFON/60, 1.23 GAON/60
On top of all that, Sutherby’s benefiting from some ridiculously good numbers at even-strength (.958 on-ice save percentage, 16.3 on-ice shooting percentage). The shooting percentage number in particular is the best on the team; no matter how good a season Sutherby’s having, he isn’t an equal to guys like Getzlaf and Perry, so it seems reasonable to say that it isn’t likely to continue.
Sutherby’s penalty-killing numbers this year are the worst among regular Ducks forwards, while last year they were the best, so he’s likely an OK penalty-killer; given that he’s only averaging just over a minute short-handed a few goals against would inflate his numbers beyond where they would likely settle over the course of a full season.
Other than that, Sutherby’s numbers are inflated by where he’s being played (his ratio of offensive zone to defensive zone face-offs is a very amicable 3:2), and he brings a lot to the table physically, both fighting and hitting with abandon. Basically, if somebody were to give you a can labeled “NHL fourth-Liner”, Brian Sutherby would be inside of it.
The Oilers could handle that kind of gift right now — the fourth line has been a problem for most of the year, and Marc Pouliot could probably use some better support than Tim Sestito, Jesse Boulerice and (shudder) Ladislav Smid. Based on this trade today, the cost is probably a mid-range draft pick or one of the three hundred interchangeable offensive prospects the Oilers have in the system; in other words, availability probably isn’t what’s keeping them from making a trade. Heck, Chris Gratton could be had for the price of a plane ticket to bring him here. That really leaves two reasonable scenarios in my mind:
- The Oilers’ brass don’t see a need for an end-of-roster player
- They’re setting their sights a little higher (read: third line centre who can take face-offs and play a physical game)
Given where the penalty-killing is sitting this season, I’d bet on the latter.