One way or another, the Checkers will be without their captain when they play at Oklahoma City on Friday.
On Tuesday, the AHL suspended forward Brett Sutter as a result of a boarding incident that occurred during the Checkers’ game in Raleigh two days earlier. In the first period of the 3-1 win over Norfolk at PNC Arena, Sutter earned a five-minute major and game misconduct for a hit against Norfolk’s Jordan Hendry, who suffered an injury on the play but later returned to the game.
The timing of the suspension is interesting in that there was a chance Sutter was already going to be absent when the Checkers begin a set of three games in three nights against the Barons. A sixth-year pro who played a career-high 15 NHL games with Carolina last season, Sutter is a candidate to join the Hurricanes for an abbreviated training camp, whenever that might be.
Should Sutter be with the Hurricanes instead of the Checkers on Friday – which is no guarantee given that the ongoing process of ratifying the new agreement between the NHL and NHLPA has resulted in still-uncertain start dates for the new season – he would still have to serve the suspension following his return.
Should he make the Hurricanes’ roster, it would be up to the NHL to determine whether or not the AHL suspension would cost him a game with Carolina.
Sutter is enjoying a breakout offensive season with the Checkers, ranking tied for fourth on the team with 10 goals, just three short of his career high. None of those goals were scored on the power-play, making him the team’s leader in even strength goals.
The 25-year-old is the second Checkers player to be suspended this season. Chris Terry missed three games for an elbowing incident in Grand Rapids on Oct. 26.