It is not the most exciting notion, but the Detroit Red Wings should consider circling back to Pius Suter. I often find myself with wavering opinions regarding Detroit’s former versatile forward. I feel like Michael Scott from the show ‘The Office’ when he’s describing to Jan what it is like to get a vasectomy and then have it reversed when Jan decides she wants kids, and then getting the procedure done again when she mentions that she doesn’t want children (snip, snap, snip, snap, snip, snap).
Suter, 27, oddly remains unsigned three weeks into free agency. The former Detroit Red Wings ‘Swiss army knife’ (see what I did there?) is coming off a solid season where he recorded 14 goals and 24 points over 79 games. Suter averaged just a touch over 14 minutes per game, primarily playing on the fourth line, but did move up and down head coach Derek Lalonde’s lineup, filling in for injuries when needed. Suter also has the ability to play center or the wing and has proven to be a reliable two-way player that is trustworthy on the penalty kill and possesses enough offensive know-how to fill in on the second power-play unit when needed.
The veteran forward provided the Detroit Red Wings with a below-average Corsi For Percentage of 45.5% this past season. He also maintained a Relative Corsi For Percentage of -0.9 at even strength, both career worsts. Suter’s 1.3 points per 60 minutes had also been a career worst. So why on earth should general manager Steve Yzerman consider a reunion? Well, to be blunt, for competitive purposes.
The Detroit Red Wings should consider a reunion with Pius Suter.
Again, I’ve swayed back and forth on this idea. During the regular season, I mentioned that the organization would be wise to move on from Suter, which they have until this point. Later, I circled back, reevaluated the situation, and mentioned that re-signing Suter wouldn’t be the worst idea.
With Suter still out there for the signing, Yzerman should consider bringing him back if he’s open to a one-year deal or, at the very least, a Personal Tryout (PTO).
Detroit vastly improved their roster this summer, adding Alex DeBrincat, J.T. Compher, Daniel Sprong, Klim Kostin, Christian Fischer, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Justin Holl, among others. I made my first (way too early) opening night lineup prediction recently. When you look at Detroit’s bottom four or five forwards, including the potential healthy scratches, Suter would push for a roster spot. He undoubtedly makes the Detroit Red Wings better.
I have Joe Veleno penciled in as Detroit’s fourth-line center. Veleno, 23, is coming off a nine-goal, 20-point season; it’s similar production to Suter’s, so why not let the two battle it out during training camp and beyond?
Another player with a bunch of questions surrounding his long-term availability is Robby Fabbri. Fabbri was limited to just 28 games last season as he spent the first half of the year recovering from his third ACL surgery. Fabbri also ended the season on the shelf after again injuring his knee, but the injury wasn’t considered serious this time. Fabbri is a valuable depth player, but again, availability is becoming a constant concern.
Also, don’t rule out one of Detroit’s young prospects earning a role on opening night, which further complicates things in a good way. I also mentioned Austin Czarnik as one of Detroit’s healthy scratches to begin the year. The organization won’t allow a prospect to be a healthy scratch regularly when they could be playing top minutes in Grand Rapids. Czarnik, 30, filled in nicely when called upon last season, but he’s very limited in his overall abilities. Czarnik scored three goals and totaled five points in 29 games last year. If Suter were to replace Czarnik on my opening night lineup prediction (as a healthy scratch), it would yet again be an improvement.
Suter knows and is comfortable playing in Derek Lalonde’s system. Injuries happen throughout a season, and having a proven player eager to contribute is very beneficial. This also begs the question; is this a role Suter will accept?