The Sutter family tale is well-known in professional hockey: six brothers played in the NHL in the 1970s and 80s. Now another member of the family has gone through a rite of passage as the Winnipeg Jets took Lukas Sutter in the second round, 39th overall, at the 2012 Entry Draft in Pittsburgh last Saturday.
Lukas is part of a well-storied fraternity. Brian, the oldest, is the only brother to have his number retired by an NHL team: the St. Louis Blues, the only pro club he played for, put his No. 12 into the rafters in 1988. Duane won four Stanley Cups as a member of the New York Islanders, while brother Brent won two Cups with them. Darryl didn’t have much impact as a player, but he has the family’s most recent claim to fame by winning the 2012 Stanley Cup as the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings.
Ron and Rich Sutter are primarily known for being the first set of identical twins to play in the NHL, and played together on the Philadelphia Flyers between 1983 and 1986. Now Rich’s son Lukas has won the faith of an NHL club.
Lukas is part of the second generation of Sutters to be drafted by league clubs: the Calgary Flames selected Shaun 102nd in 1998, and they also took Brett 179th overall in 2005. Brandon was chosen 111th by Carolina, but is now with the Pittsburgh Penguins after being traded on the weekend in the Jordan Staal deal. That’s fine, though, because the Hurricanes have yet another Sutter in their back pocket, having chosen Brody 193rd in last year’s draft.
Now Lukas is the property of the NHL’s “newest” team. He had 28 goals, 59 points and 165 penalty minutes with the Saskatoon Blades last season. Standing at six feet and weighing 207 pounds, he does have the size to contribute to the parent club. He is pegged as an “honest, gritty two-way player,” which seems to describe every Sutter in existence.
“You have to play that way, I think, to be a successful player nowadays,” Lukas said in an interview. “Look at the way L.A. played down the stretch. Everyone was physical. They paid a price, and that’s something I take a lot of pride in.”
Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff sounded very pleased to be able to pick the 18-year-old. “We really like the way he plays; he provides a lot of sandpaper for us. In the prospect category, he’s someone that’s very determined to play. He’s someone in the interview process and the way he plays, we’re real excited that we were able to get him.”
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