Washington Capitals Prospect Profile: Riley Sutter

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The Washington Capitals selected 18-year-old Riley Sutter with their third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. The 6’-2”, 201 pound center/right-winger has spent the last three seasons with the Everett Silvertips in the Western Hockey League (WHL). We present our first “deep dive” on the last of the second generation of Hockey Sutters to be drafted into the NHL.

As noted, Sutter, who turns 19 on October 25th, has spent the last three seasons with the Everett Silvertips in the WHL, increasing his offensive production each successive season.

Sutter finished the 2017-2018 season with a career-high 25 goals (6th on the team) and 28 assists  (7th on the team) in 68 games played for the Silvertips. Sutter finished 6th on the team in shots on goal with 171 and 5th on the team in power play goals with nine. He was 4th on the team in faceoff winning percentage at 52.4%.

Sutter skated in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Guelph, Ontario this season.

Pre-Draft Rankings: 

Hockey Family
Riley Sutter literally has professional hockey in his blood. Sutter comes from an extremely long lineage of accomplished hockey players. Riley is the son of Ron Sutter, a first round draft pick (#4) by the Flyers in 1982. Ron, a right-handed centerman, played a total of 19 seasons in the NHL, including stops with the Flyers, Blues, Nordiques, Islanders, Bruins, Sharks and Flames.

In addition, Riley’s uncles include Darryl Sutter, Duane Sutter, Brent Suter, Rich Sutter, Brian Sutter, all of whom were drafted by NHL teams and endured long careers in the NHL. Extremely impressive, but that’s just the first generation of NHL Sutters.

In addition to the six first-generation Sutters, Riley is a cousin to Brett Sutter, Merrick Sutter, Brandon Sutter, Brody Sutter, Luke Sutter, Shaun Sutter. Brent, son of Darryl Sutter, has spent some time in the NHL. Merrick, son of Brent, is the Senior VP. Of Operations for the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL. Brandon, also a son of Brent, borther of Merrick, was drafted in 2007 by the Carolina Hurricanes, and currently plays for the Vancouver Canucks. Brody, son of Duane, was drafted by the Carolina Huricanes in 2011. Luke, son of Rich, was a 2012 draft pick by the Winnipeg Jets and Shaun, son of Bryan, was drafted by the Flames in 1998. You got all that? That’s a lot of Sutters! Riley was the last of the second-generation to be drafted.


Sutter centered a second line in the Capitals 2018 development camp scrimmage, which may be an indication of where the Capitals would like to see Riley focus his attention. (Scrimmage recap is here.)

In an interview with Mike Vogel, Sutter mentioned that he will be working on his speed and footwork this summer, in advance of training camp and next season with Everette.

A number of pre-draft analysis and reports cited speed and footwork as the two primary areas Sutter will need to work on, and improve, prior to turning pro.


Due to his age, Sutter will spend a fourth season in the WHL, and be primed for relocating to Hershey in the fall of 2019. It will be interesting to see if Riley moves to the center position full-time, or remains at the wing position.

“His long reach gives him the ability to poke pucks loose and keep the puck away from defencemen. Likes to play inside the dots and collect passes and get off a shot quickly. Good two-way player who calls himself a playmaker but loves to shoot. Good anticipation gives him the edge to get in front of defenders and gain advantage of space in front of the net and around the crease. Does a good job of opening up space for himself and getting open. Has good physical size but is rarely seen engaging in any physical play but it will continue to grow along with him.” – Marshall MacKinder, Hockey Now

“Son of another longtime NHLer, Ron Sutter, Riley Sutter brings the heavy, hard work ethic found in the Sutter family. He’s a large player that goes to the hard areas and plants himself in front of the net to go along with the physical ability to win almost all battles. He also possesses nice vision to get some nice passes out, but could improve on his puck-handling to execute better plays. Sutter could potentially draw some comparisons to Beck Malenstyn, a Capitals draft pick in 2016, as both are power forwards with a bit of skill. But unlike Malenstyn, Sutter doesn’t quite have the skating capability. He isn’t slow, but he also isn’t the fastest player. He’s defensively responsible in all three zones, but will need that speed at the next level to execute play in all zones.” NoVa Caps 2018 Draft Analysis.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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12 Responses to Washington Capitals Prospect Profile: Riley Sutter

  1. good analysis…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Can’t find coverage like this anywhere else. Keep it up! Also, seems that there are more Sutters than you can shake a stick at.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I like this pick but didnt like the two 2nd

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