We continue breaking-down the last 12 months of development for each of the Washington Capitals prospects with a review and forecast for right winger, Riley Sutter. (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page right here.)
Sutter is a 21-year-old right winger who played junior hockey for the Everett Silvertips. The Calgary, Alberta native was drafted by the Capitals in the third round (#93 overall) of the 2018 NHL entry draft. Sutter signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Capitals on September 29, 2018 at $925,000 AAV. With entry-level slides for his first two seasons, Sutter will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2022-23 season.
Sutter has played four seasons of junior hockey in the Western Hockey League (WHL), all with the Everett Silvertips. He began his junior hockey career in 2015-16 and played in 31 games, scoring just one goal.
He improved his productivity greatly for the 2016-17 season, playing in 67 games, scoring 20 goals and earning 18 assists. He was even better during the 2017-18 season when he played in 68 games, scoring 25 goals and earning 28 assists. During the 2018 post season, he had 9 goals and 10 assists in 21 post season games.
Sutter was off to a great start for the 2018-19 season and had 14 goals and 27 assists before being sidelined for the remainder of the regular season with an injury. During his four year career in the WHL, he had 137 points, 60 goals, 137 penalty minutes, and a +38 rating in 204 career games.
The 2019-20 season saw Sutter transition to the AHL. Unfortunately for Sutter injuries would once again dominate his season from the start, after he was injured in the prospect tournament in Nashville. He would record one goal and three assists in his rookie campaign.
The 2020-21 season was somewhat similar for Sutter, as he would miss 11 of the Bears 36 games due to injury. He recorded no goals and nine assists in 25 games played.
2020-2021 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following is a compilation of our month-by-month prospect reports for Riley Sutter during the 2020-2021 season. You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
The start of Sutter’s sophomore campaign was filled with some good and some bad aspects. He was scoreless in five games played and was a team worst minus three. The son of former NHL forward Ron Sutter also missed three games with an injury.
However, he has been a big contributor on Hershey’s strong penalty kill and sees a lot of time on that unit. Still, the team needs more production from him offensively and need to see more consistent play defensively at even strength.
Following a scoreless February, Sutter got off to a good start in March. He picked up his first point of the season in the second period on March 3 at Lehigh Valley when he had the primary assist on Martin Fehervary’s shorthanded goal. Sutter also assisted on Shane Gersich’s second period marker. Sutter then had the secondary assist on Axel Jonsson-Fjallby’s game winner against Lehigh Valley on March 6.
Unfortunately for Sutter, that was the last point he scored in the month. He went scoreless in his next seven games before being a healthy scratch for the month’s final game on March 31. Sutter is a good penalty killer, but is in line to lose playing time with the arrival of Aliaksei Protas.
Entering the month with three points on the season, Sutter surpassed that amount in April. He dished out four assists in the month to up his season point total to seven.
The Calgary, Alberta native recorded his second shorthanded assist at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on April 25. He stole the puck and fluttered a pass up ahead that Axel Jonsson-Fjallby sped to and converted for a shorthanded tally.
Sutter registered a two-assist game in a 6-3 win over Binghamton on April 17. He had a secondary assist on Shane Gersich’s goal that started a three-goal barrage late in the second period and also picked up a helper on Brian Pinho’s marker. Sutter has been playing with more confidence in all aspects of his game.
Sutter got off to a good start in May with two helpers in a 4-3 overtime win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on May 1. One of those assists came on Kale Kessy’s tying goal in the third period. He went scoreless in his next two games. In the second of those two games, Sutter was injured and did not play in another game.
Sutter did not score a goal in his sophomore season, but did finish with nine assists. His play in his own end was a lot better than his rookie season. Sutter improved to a plus seven this season after being a minus player as a rookie. He also saw a lot of time on the penalty kill.
TRENDING – SAME
Injuries have been an issue for Sutter for the last three seasons. He desperately needs a full season of play this coming season in Hershey.
When he does play, he is a physical player, and utilizes his 6’-4” frame well. He’s shown signs of excellent play along the boards and does well in puck battles. He also has a decent shot, although the numbers have t found there way to the scoresheet. Sutter has also been a stalwart on the Bears penalty kill.
With just 50 games of AHL action under his belt, this upcoming season is really his second full year, a season in which many prospects begin to find their way in the AHL. Hopefully he can play in a majority of the games.
By Jon Sorensen
2020-2021 Prospect Reviews And Forecasts