Brandon Sutter

“Cornerstone” player: Carolina re-signs Brandon Sutter to three-year, $6.2 million deal

With the way Eric Staal has become the face of the Carolina Hurricanes and his teammate Jeff Skinner is the new fresh face of the NHL, it’d be easy to forget that there’s other talented youth in Raleigh making things happen there. Luckily for restricted free agent Brandon Sutter, Canes GM Jim Rutherford keeps him well in mind as well.

The Hurricanes re-signed Sutter to a three-year, $6.2 million contract good for a $2.067 salary cap hit over that time. Over the past two seasons, Sutter’s career has blossomed in a big way. Two seasons ago he had a career year scoring 21 goals and finishing the year with 40 points. Last season, a lot of faith was put upon Sutter’s shoulders as he was named an alternate captain of the team and had a slight let down finishing the year with 14 goals and 29 points.

With all that, Rutherford says that Sutter’s importance to the team is huge.

“Brandon is one of the cornerstones of our franchise moving forward,” said Carolina president and general manager Jim Rutherford. “He is an extremely intelligent player who can perform in all situations, and has already grown into a leadership position for the Hurricanes at a very young age.”

With the likes of Staal, Skinner, and Sutter the Hurricanes are in a great place as Staal and goalie Cam Ward are the old men of the bunch at 26 years-old. With Skinner at 18 and Sutter at 22 that youthful corps of players are going to have a lot of time to grow together. If they can get some help along the wings and get a little deeper still, this is a team that could be a real headache to deal with in the Eastern Conference for years.

As it is, they’ll need to see Sutter’s offensive numbers take a jump back up again next season. What he brought to the ice two years ago was outstanding goal-wise but the arrival of Skinner relieved some of the pressure on him to pour it on offensively. Getting back to being a 20-goal guy with the ability to feed his linemates will make Carolina a much more electric team to watch. With Tomas Kaberle there to anchor the power play as well, perhaps the Hurricanes can stop teasing about making the playoffs and finally get over the hump.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?