Vancouver Canucks Year in Review: Grading 2015 X-Factors

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Oct 30, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Vancouver Canucks center Brandon Sutter (21) skates with the puck during the third period against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /

#4 Brandon Sutter (Grade: A-)

I really, really like Brandon Sutter. Maybe it’s because he hasn’t played much.

But when Sutter played, the Canucks enjoyed a 26-year-old shut-down centre who was playing some of the best hockey of his career thanks to some time with the Sedins. His 50.3 percent Corsi For is a career-high (albeit through 16 games), and he was on pace for a 40-plus point season.

As for his impact on the team, after going 92.3 percent on the penalty kill with Sutter in the line-up, the Canucks (Sutter-less for 22 games) are now 20th in the league at 79.4 percent. The face-offs took at toll as well. Sutter’s team-leading 53.6 percent win-rate is sorely missed by Vancouver, who now bottoms out the league at 45.4 percent.

Roll out the stats, there is no denying that X-Factor Mr. Sutter turned out great and Vancouver needs him back badly.

I said 60 points from Sutter will guarantee a postseason berth for Vancouver, and that seems to be about right, as the Canucks seem destined to be fighting for a spot till the very end without Sutter. Also, should he return in the second half and put up 50 more points, the Canucks will surely make the playoffs.

Verdict on Sutter: Great potential ruined by injuries. The injury was the real X-Factor, eh? His original question was answered concerning the 60 points, but will he ever be the same player as he was before the surgery? There’s another question to answer.