Kypreos: Oilers, Sutton “Closing In” On New Contract

According to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos, the Edmonton Oilers are close to extending veteran defenseman Andy Sutton. The soon to be 37-year old is currently slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

From Kypreos’ Twitter account:

Scratch another D off #NHL trading block. Hearing #Oilers Andy Sutton closing in on a new 1 year deal. Its believed to be in 1.75M range.

A number of people have recently suggested that it makes more sense to sign Sutton, who has been one of the Oilers’ better options on the third pairing, rather than trade him given that the return at the deadline is exceedingly unlikely to be more than a second round draft pick. Further, many have suggested that Sutton genuinely likes playing for the Oilers and would like to keep playing in Edmonton. On the latter point, Jason Gregor tweeted the following yesterday:

He doesn’t want to move family again. Becomes a chore. He really likes the young players, they like him.

I’ve previously held that the Oilers would be better off sending Sutton away at the deadline, mostly because of his age and the fact that their primary need isn’t a lot of bottom-pairing guys, but rather higher-end defensemen. Sutton returned to the lineup yesterday against Ottawa after being a healthy scratch over the previous two games, and is one of five defensemen (Jeff Petry, Corey Potter, Theo Peckham and Cam Barker) the Oilers have probably best suited to a depth role on the blue line right now. Aside from Barker, all of that group is either signed for next season or bound for restricted free agency.

Still, Sutton’s performance this season stands head and shoulders above that of Peckham and Barker, and he’s probably ahead of Potter as well. He adds a physical dimension to the lineup, and the Oilers always have the option of sending him away at this time next year if they find themselves out of the playoff picture once again.

As for the reported terms of the contract, the length is exactly right. Given Sutton’s age and the availability of defensemen on the free agent market, it would be a mistake to sign him to a multi-year deal. The dollar figure is a little harder to stomach; $1.75 million would probably represent a slight overpay for a defender like Sutton. The Oilers already have quantity on the blue line, and Sutton’s already living in Edmonton and apparently doesn’t want to move. Given that the Oilers would almost certainly be dealing him if they don’t re-sign him, one would imagine they could talk him down a bit.

Returning to the positive, the Oilers are currently carrying eight defensemen. Unless that’s the plan long-term, the retention of Sutton would mean that they’ve decided to keep him over one of the less deserving members of the roster – and barring something really unexpected, that might suggest the Oilers have decided not to hang on to one of Theo Peckham or Cam Barker.  Sutton’s been clearly better than both this season.

Alternate takes on this rumour via the Cult of Hockey’s David Staples, as well as the venerable Lowetide.

  • Dutchscooter

    Depends who the Oil want to lose on the waiver wire. At this point, send Barker down because if they resign Sutton, Barker is not in the plans next year.

    If someone picks him off waivers, all the better.

  • Ben Eager feasts on the souls of Canucks

    That’s good news. Because of injuries you can never have too many NHL proven D-men. Having a 6-7 d-man like Sutton is great. He’s a physical force, usually makes the safe play and doesn’t draw too much attention to himself, which is a good thing if you’re a defensive blueliner.

  • O.C.

    FYI – I just posted an OKC review from last night – on last topic GDB 55 – page three post 107.

    You might find it interesting. You might not. Either way, it’s there.

    /interruption

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I hope, for the sake of the Oilers, the next GM hired is a better fiscal manager than Tambellini/Lowe have been. I love signing Sutton for one year, but 1.75 is a ridiculous number. Still not as bad as Barker at 2.25.

    Potter at 800k was a solid depth signing.

    • Yourmomthinksimhot

      Agreed Potter is a solid depth signing, but he would be a better signing on a 2 way deal. After seeing Brule lost on waivers for nothing I would prefer not to see the same thing happen for Potter when he eventually stuggles.

      The guy has no track history as an NHL defenseman, why sign him to a 2 year deal? And one way to boot? I dont understand Tambellini’s assest management at all…..

  • Since I have no clue where the Oilers are in their rebuild anymore, I have no clue what I should think about resigning Sutton.

    On one hand he has experience, size, and enough skill to catch people off guard. On the other hand he’s 1000 years old.

    Are the Oilers poised to take a step forward next year? I have no clue. We could, but as of right now the Oilers are going to have the same bad defense and same shaky goaltending, maybe even shakier if its Dubnyk and some AHL goalie as his backup.

    What good is a 1000 year old defenseman going to be on a clone of this team? What difference does he make in the standings on a team that will probably feature another wave of 18-20 year old rookies?

    No clue

    • John Chambers

      Good question: where are we in the re-build?

      My hope is this-

      1) the team achieves close to 80 points this season, or a 15 to 20 point improvement over last, but still draft in the top 4.

      2) acknowledging that we’re a couple of key players and some reliable goaltending away from being a legit playoff team, management makes the moves necessary to accomplish this over summer

      3) the Sutton signing shores up a bottom-pairing with Petry. Potter becomes your 7. The need for a top pair Dman is addressed, and we get a Brendan Smith or Jon Blum type return for Hemsky to fill in for the inevitable injury.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    For a 1 yr contract I don’t mind the $ with regards to Sutton, good team guy, and wants to be here. Plus his hits on the opposing team, legal or not are great to see over and over again thanx to the ability to rewind and pause tv now a days lol.

    To bad about Peckham falling by the wayside and most likely getting moved, imo he’s a younger version of Sutton in a couple yrs imo.

  • Tik

    Sutton at 1.75MM would be not horrible if that is the TOTAL money paid including bonuses. Half of that as base and the other half as a bonus, similar to what Staios was able to get on the Island this year.

  • Tik

    I don’t think age should be a factor, especially on a one year deal. Would any of us jump at the chance to sign Lidstrom or Selanne? They’re both over 40 and playing great. What matters is that Sutton is playing better than other younger defenders. Without him, we once again become that ‘easy to play against team’. He adds a physicality that is unmatched in our dressing room. 1.75 is a better price than Barker, for a better defenceman than Barker, so what’s the problem?

  • justDOit

    Peckham is another play who should have been brought along more slowly. As with Gagner, Peckham has struggled to keep his head above water in the NHL. More development time, and the confidence that comes with that, would have been the better route for this kid.

    I still believe that Peckham will turn the corner, but now that he’s waiver eligible, I’m not sure where he’ll get that chance.

    As for Sutton, I think he’s a good player to have on the roster. Even if he’s getting a slight overpay, I like this move.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I don’t understand the obsession of so many fans with the $ value of short term contracts in the midst of a rebuild. This Sutton deal, or Barker last year, or even Horcoff’s deal this year. Who cares???

    What impact does it have on the rebuild if next year they pay Sutton 500k, $1 million or $5 million. Its money out of Katz pocket, but I really couldn’t care less about that…

    Its not like we are capped out and can’t make decisions based on money at any point in the near future. That day may well be coming, and then it’ll be imperative mgmt makes shrewd decisions so we don’t run into the problems Tampa did a few years ago when they had to fill out their bottom line(s) with the cheapest option because they were capped out on the top 2.

    But in 2011, on short term deals who cares if Sutton makes $5 million, Barker makes $8 million and Horcoff gets $11 mil. Of course in another 2 years’ish that’ll change and these deals will be more important to get right (and Horcoff’s buyout will be more important). But right now today…

    But right now today, I’d prefer we overpay some players so that Katz will be pocketing less of my money for the crap we are watching.

  • RexLibris

    I’ve been saying that Peckham should be used as trade bait this spring at the draft or if he returns next year he needs to learn from Sutton. Sutton is (size aside) much of what Peckham needs to be if he wants to stick around when the next wave of drafted defencemen begin to arrive.

    @Oilcruzer

    A good read, thanks for sharing. I’ve been watching OKC closely this year looking for areas that need to be addressed. Pitlick’s numbers don’t tell much so it’s nice to get a report from an actual game witness to go on.

    I’ve been discussing the Barons and the Heat over on FN and if you don’t mind I was thinking I might copy your comments (attributed, of course) to that thread to further the discussion.

    I’m glad that the Oilers appear to be taking their time with him. I think he’s a prospect that, like Kesler, will take time to develop but the payoff could be significant.

    If the Oilers are fortunate enough this year to be able to draft a player like Grigorenko it would help tremendously in adding to the AHL depth and providing something this team hasn’t had in a lifetime: top six options at centre.

    While I don’t think Omark is as good as Hemsky, if Ales is moved then Omark is a decent plug-in to that position of a playmaking right-winger. My hope is that Omark, Gagner and Paajarvi will be able to create some chemistry and find some success together. I know someone will bring up the size issue, but Gagner and Omark both play larger than they are and I don’t feel that those two smaller players on a second line is such a terrible thing in the short term.

  • Rama Lama

    If this is true, that Sutton will be extended, this is good news!

    Not many guys can play like Sutton, with his size and physical play, but he also has puck patience, something that is almost impossible to teach short term. You either have this skill, or you acquire it very slowly over many years.

    I’m hoping that other defensemen like Peckham, Petry, Smid, learn from watching a good veteran like Sutton and develop this skill.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Nice depth signing if they pull it off. Why the hell was Barker playing this week and Andy sitting then?

    Its like they like him just so he can ride pine. Oh well.

  • O.C.

    Sutton over Barker in a heart beat.If you think signing Sutton was a bad deal, than what you call the Barker deal and @ $2.25. I would resign Barker.. its difficult to get half decent D men in the NHL, and I think the OKC guys are another season away at the least .. you need depth.Now if they can land a top 4,than its a different story. You still have Peckham to deal with, I guess if push came to shove I would keep Peckham over Sutton, because of age…

    • Dutchscooter

      That’s the problem with Barker though…..he’s proving that he’s in the other half of the half-decent defensemen. Which means you say sayonara at seasons’ end.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    It’s unfortunate Andy won’t get a chance to see playoff hockey his last couple of seasons in the NHL.

    Guess there’s always hope next year gets wiped out and the Oil get a fresh start with two new lotto picks in the lineup after the stoppage. If they keep screwing it up like they did yesterday this could spell disaster.

    Why can’t they just play Horcoff and Hemsky 30 minutes a night!

  • Beavis

    It seems to me that Barker’s being so bad has made Sutton look very good in comparison. Also, does this mean they’re giving up on a much younger Theo Peckham for a guy who’s turning 37 in March?

    Speaking of Sutton’s age, last week on the HNIC game Kevin Weekes was singing his praises about something or other, commenting on his hustle and finished by noting that “this young man” is proving his worth to the Oilers. Kevin Weekes is one month younger than Andy Sutton…

  • Just reading that Sportsnet post, it doesn’t look like they’re sure it’s done. Bolding mine:

    According to sportsnet.ca’s Nick Kypreos, another defenceman may be off the trading block as Andy Sutton and the Edmonton Oilers have presumably agreed to a one-year deal in the region of $1.75 million.

    Sounds to me like whoever is on weekend duty over at the website saw the tweet and thought they should throw something up.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I don’t get this Peckham trade talk once Sutton is signed. The Oil need depth in their ranks, and I think Peckham is important in the short term plans of the Oilers. He was a number 7 defender who’s going to play 55 plus games this year, and chances are we need him next season when Sutton’s killed someone, or Whitney’s rehabbing. The Oilers blue hopefully will look good if they can sign a top four defender, then the Oil will finally have some defensive depth.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I don’t get the talk worrying about Peckham, at best he becomes a solid bottom pairing dman, but he is not there yet and we don’t have a strong enough defence to get him minutes to learn on the job, he can’t play down in OKC and he can’t play on the Oilers and he won’t be the 7th guy with SUtton or Potter likely being so next year (Which would be great because then that means we get a top 4 guy).

    Trade Peckham or cut him loose he isn’t a major factor and the management needs to stop holding out hope for these type of guys…. see JFJ.