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From COVID to Comeback: Brandon Sutter Out to Make Oilers

Brandon Sutter’s desires to make the Oilers roster after a health battle that spanned two years inspires hope.

In anticipation of the upcoming Edmonton Oilers 2023-24 season and as training camp begins, a pressing question looms large: Can Brandon Sutter secure a coveted spot as the fourth-line center? Sutter, a seasoned NHL veteran with an impressive 770 games under his belt, finds himself in the precarious position of competing on a professional tryout contract (PTO), striving to impress the coaching staff.

Joking that it feels a lot like making a junior team, he knows he might be in tough to make a deep Oilers squad. But, as Ken Holland said, “… if he’s anywhere close to where he was, when he was in his prime, he’s exactly what we’re looking for.”

Reflecting on his journey, Sutter expressed heartfelt gratitude for the opportunity to reclaim a sense of normalcy. He remarked, “I’m just happy to have my life back. It’s been a long road, but I’m happy first and foremost to be back to being a normal dad again, a normal husband again.”

At 34 years old, Sutter’s path back to the ice won’t be easy. It already includes a series of challenges that make his presence in preseason games alone a reason to feel good about where he’s at. His ordeal began with a bout of COVID-19. Unfortunately, as most others got over it in a matter of days and weeks, his didn’t fade away. His last game with the Vancouver Canucks was on May 1, 2021, marking a prolonged absence from the sport he loves. He’s really been nowhere near the NHL since.

Having fulfilled his five-year, $4.375 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks, he opted to sign a one-year, $1.125 million contract to remain in Vancouver ahead of the 2021 season. The hope was that he could play again but he was unable to suit up for a single game under that contract.

Sutter candidly shared the difficulties he faced in pinpointing the root of his health issues, saying, “The hardest part was figuring out for the longest time what was actually wrong.” He added, “Once I got that kind of narrowed down, I was able to work through it. It just took a long time to get there.” It took nearly six to eight months to simply avoid feeling a shortness of breath that persisted for two years.

Brandon Sutter Edmonton Oilers camp
Brandon Sutter Edmonton Oilers camp

With determination and unwavering resolve, Sutter decided to make a comeback. He recounted, “This summer I said: ‘In July I’m going to start skating like I normally would for a normal season.’ After about three or four weeks, I was pretty confident. Called my agent and said, ‘Start making some calls.'”

The Oilers Were Happy to Give Him a Shot

Ken Holland, often known as a GM to take a chance on players the rest of the league overlooks welcomed him to camp. It’s early, but so far, things are looking up.

As the training camp commenced, TSN’s Ryan Rishaug provided an initial assessment of Sutter’s performance, noting, “Quick look in on Brandon Sutter, In on a PTO. Hasn’t played much hockey over the past few years, but looks to be moving pretty well. Competing for 4LC job.”

Despite the odds stacked against him, is determined and hungry to make his mark on the Oilers’ roster, proving that resilience and passion can overcome even the most challenging obstacles.

Next: Tyson Barrie Says Oilers In Mix on Giant 2023 Trade Deadline Deal

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