There is little doubt the goaltenders and a terrific group of blueliners stole the show in Wednesday's CHL/NHL Top Prospects game in Kelowna. No wonder this upcoming draft is being billed as the year of the defensemen. All 12 that played performed well, in what was the lowest scoring game in Top Prospects history. The final 2-1.
Keep in mind four of the top ranked d men missed the game with injury. However for me, one of the great things about this game every year is not focusing on the top guns. Rather it is to see who might really raise their stock as a result.
One player who achieved that goal was Saskatoon Blades' forward Lukas Sutter. The son of Rich may have taken another step towards becoming the next member of the storied hockey family to suit up in the NHL.
Rated number 86 amongst North American skaters Sutter did not look out of place. In fact the 6'1 inch 200 pounder showed he more than belonged. The 18 year old skated well, helped to create a number of good chances, and finished his checks and was his usual hard to play against self. Sutter has accounted for 46 points in 49 games with the Blades this season and has 20 of them in his last 14 games.
Plain and simply every time I watch Lukas Sutter he gets better. If NHL scouts are seeing it the same way, that bodes well for a young man attempting to become the 9th member of the Sutter clan to play in the show. (Brody Sutter, in the Carolina system, would make it 10)
Did I mention he is one of the WHL's penalty minute leaders with 127. Grit, toughness, and a skill set that looks more polished all the time. And it appears, like all the Sutters before him a will to play with the world's best.
Lukas showed in Kelowna that he has gone from getting a shot to looking like he has a pretty good one of reaching his ultimate goal.