The Edmonton Oilers are on the hunt for their fourth-line center. Coming into camp there was really only 3 possibilities for that role. Brandon Sutter, Sam Gagner, and Lane Pederson.
Sam Gagner came into camp after coming off a major off-season surgery to his hips. He was not in game shape so he will not play a preseason game. Therefore he is very unlikely to play in the NHL to start the season.
After a couple of preseason games, it looked as if the battle between Lane Pederson and Brandon Sutter was going to be a close fight. That is until this morning, when to the shock too at least me Brandon Sutter announced he is retiring from hockey.
In my opinion, Brandon Sutter is just exactly what the Edmonton Oilers needed as a third-line center. He was big, strong and right-handed. He is basically the style player they traded for at the deadline last year in Nick Bjugstad.
I know he was only here on a PTO and Pederson was already signed to a contract, but I just thought that if Sutter could find his came he would be a perfect fit. Unfortunately, his health was not 100% and you have to give him props for putting his health first.
Lots of professional athletes will put their health on the back burner for money. This is what impresses me the most. To me, Sutter was playing well enough to get an NHL contract, if not for the Edmonton Oilers then somewhere else.
So as much as Brandon Sutter would have looked good on the Edmonton Oilers 4th line, I am glad he put himself first and got out of the game while he strives to become 100% healthy.
With this news breaking it looks as if Lane Pederson will be starting as the Edmonton Oilers 4th line center. I wonder now if the battle on forward is between him and Raphael Lavoie. Lavoie has played well this preseason as well.
The Edmonton Oilers may be worried that Raphael Lavoie will be claimed on waivers if he was to be sent down. Ken Holland and Jay Woodcroft are going to have to weigh their options on these two players.