To say that Washington Capitals’ prospect Riley Sutter comes from a hockey family would be a significant understatement. In fact, for many, the Sutter family just may be hockey’s royal family. But for Riley, he’s looking to make his own name in the hockey world. The 2018 3rd round pick by the Capitals recently began the next phase in his own hockey career last week when he was loaned to the Hershey Bears.
After spending four seasons with the Everett Silvertips of the WHL, the 20-year-old Calgary, Alberta native was ready to join the Capitals AHL affiliate Hershey Bears at the start of this season. Unfortunately, Sutter suffered an injury in the third period of the first game of the rookie prospect tournament in Nashville, which caused him to miss the rest of the tournament, all of Capitals training camp, and sidelined him for the first month and a half of the season.
I met with Riley following the Bears 2-1 victory over the Charlotte Checkers on Saturday, to discuss his development goals, his first professional game, and playing hockey in the Sutter family.
“I think the biggest thing for me to improve on in my game is my speed, quickness, decision making. I think it starts there and everything else will fall into place. I’m pretty happy with where my game’s at now, but like I said just making quicker decisions and first few steps and if I can make that happen hopefully, I can get to the next level.”
Sutter was officially taken off of the “season opening injured reserve list” and loaned to the Bears on November 12th. He would make his AHL debut on November 15th at home against the Charlotte Checkers.
“There’s a bit of everything. There are some nerves for my first pro game. I think the biggest thing was excitement. I’ve been waiting for that day for a while. The result wasn’t what the team wanted but I thought we had a pretty good game and we carried it over to today and got a good win.”
Riley had thought his father, Ron, was going to miss his debut game, but unbeknownst to Riley, his dad was in the stands watching his son come out for his first game.
“Yeah, he was supposed to fly out and something happened, and he ended up coming to the game which I guess is the hockey gods looking down. It all worked out, so I was happy to see him.”
While the Sutter family is pretty well known amongst the hockey community, Riley is looking to make his one name, in his own way. While growing up in the Sutter family may have benefited him during his development, Riley’s name is about him. Creating his own legacy and making his own name known is important to Riley, as he looks to take his career to the next level.
“Growing up I always wanted to play hockey, not because of that (family history), I just enjoyed playing the game. Just seeing the success my family had, it just kind of motivated me to follow their path. But at the same time, I wanted to create a legacy on my own. I didn’t want to rely on my families name, just wanted to pave my own path and do my own thing.”
Riley is a fresh face around the Bears locker room that will look to bring his talents to an already young team. With only two pro games under his belt, this year is going to be important for his development. If Riley is able to make the necessary adjustments to his play as well as increase his quickness, he could become a real asset to the Bears and Capitals..
By Zac Herr
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