Vancouver Canucks 2016 NHL Draft Profile: C Pius Suter

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Vancouver Canucks are preparing for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft — and so are we.

Unfortunately, the 2015-16 season was cut short for the Vancouver Canucks, which means we have a long offseason ahead of us. Canucks GM Jim Benning and his staff will use the time to prepare next season’s roster, and the 2016 NHL Entry Draft will certainly play an important part in that process.

Vancouver started off strong in the fall of 2015 but ended the season with a thud. Thanks to their abysmal 28th rank in the league standings, the Canucks own seven picks early in each round. Benning did a great job in his first two years at the job and another successful draft could certainly help boost the rebuild.

Here at The Canuck Way, we will do our best to prepare you for the upcoming event by profiling as many draft-eligible players as we possibly can. Keep in mind that we are not saying these are players the Canucks are targeting. Instead, these are players that we think the Canucks could or should have interest in.

After profiling mostly first-round players so far, let’s take a look at the later rounds, starting with ZSC Lions center Pius Suter!

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Name: Pius Suter

Position: Center/Left Wing

Shoots: Left

Height, weight: 5’11”, 176

Team/League: ZSC Lions, NLA

Stats (from 







NHL CSS Ranking: 40th (North American Skaters)

Risk, Reward: 2.5/5, 3/5

NHL-potential: Bottom-Six Two-way Forward

Draft Range: Fifth to Seventh Round

Scouting report

"Suter is a smallish center who can play on the wing as well. He plays an excellent two-way game and can excel at both ends of the ice although his defensive instincts are more progressed than his offensive ones. He uses his great hockey smarts in a lot of situations and is a dangerous penalty killer as he can steal the puck with his good anticipation and transfer his game from a defensive mode into attack within seconds. Suter is a decent puckhandler and makes smart decisions with the puck, is good in tight situations and does not panic. Does not commit a lot of mistakes and does not turn the puck over very often. He wins board battles although he is not overly physical as he is not afraid to battle against bigger opponents and does not quit on plays. He is not really an executor and could work on his shot power. All in all, Suter is a competitive and hard-working center who does a lot of small things right and is willing to sacrifice and take one for the team. Uses his matured understanding of the game to make plays. (Scouting-Factory 2016)"


Pius Suter was passed over twice, after being draft-eligible in 2014 and 2015. However, he used his additional year to prove that he can play at the highest level, leaving the Ontario Hockey League after two seasons to play in his native Switzerland. Suter is a smart and versatile two-way forward who play a great defensive game but can chip in offensively as well.

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His biggest strength is his defensive ability. Suter understands the game well and knows where he needs to be in the defensive zone. He is a strong player in the face-off circle and his positioning his great, making him a reliable penalty killer as well.

Despite his smallish frame, Suter does not shy away from physical contact. He won’t necessarily embrace it, especially not playing over in Europe, but he battles extremely hard against opponents of all sizes. Suter plays a high-energy game, both on offense and defense, which is a necessity to succeed as a two-way forward in the NHL.

But, Suter is certainly not all about defense. After playing mostly fourth-line and PK minutes, and recording just 24 points in his first season with the Guelph Storm, Suter was moved up the top six for his second year, where he recorded 43 goals and 72 points in 61 games. He did get some help from NHL draftees Tyler Bertuzzi and Robbi Fabbri, but he was an important part of that line as well.

The 2015-16 season was Suter’s first professional season and he was able to confirm what he is capable of. He played a nice two-way style, killing penalties and breaking up opposing scoring chances while scoring 14 goals and 10 assists in 45 games himself.


Size has been proven to be less of an issue for skilled scorers like Johnny Gaudreau. But for a two-way player like Suter, being 5-foot-11 and 176 pounds might be a concern. However, given the fact that 5-foot-11 is not that incredibly short and Suter plays a defensive game mostly based on positioning and stick work, he could well work out as a defensive player.

On offense, Suter has quite a few question marks. He knows how to score and can set up his teammates for scoring chances, but it is questionable if that will translate to the NHL level. His offensive skills are nothing outstanding for NHL standards, which is also one of the reasons why he was passed over seven times by all 30 NHL clubs even after a 72-point season. In a worst-case scenario, Suter will be an elite two-way center in Europe who can score there but fails to put up points in the NHL.

Final Thoughts

Pius Suter is a total wild card even in his third year of NHL draft eligibility. However, after proving that he can score in Canadian junior hockey and in the Swiss top-tier professional league, there should definitely be a team that takes a chance at him. As a seventh-round selection, he could be a big-time steal, as a fourth-rounder, his selection could be a head-scratcher.

As with most mid-round selections, the risk gets bigger the higher a player is drafted, so Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning should definitely think twice before using a higher late-round pick on Suter. However, as said before, a sixth or seventh-round pick would definitely be worth it.

Next: Logan Brown 2016 NHL Draft Profile

The Canucks seem set at center for years to come, but Suter would also take some time to reach the NHL level, if he ever does. By the time Henrik Sedin retires, Brandon Sutter might be gone and the Canucks could be left with a center they draft this year or next year, Bo Horvat, Jared McCann, Markus Granlund and — if they drafted him — Suter. Certainly promising center depth, which is something you cannot have enough of.

In an interview with in January, Suter said “the draft doesn’t matter to me whatsoever. (…) And anyway, I still have a contract with ZSC.” That, however, should probably be understood as a “I won’t be disappointed if I don’t get drafted” and he is not a risky pick in that regard.