In Malkin’s absence, the Penguins will adjust their lineup for Sunday. The team will elevate its centers with Brandon Sutter assuming Malkin’s spot between Beau Bennett and James Neal, Dustin Jeffrey centering Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy, and Joe Vitale filling the role on the fourth line.
Depending on how long Malkin is out Sutter could be a nice pickup playing alongside James Neal.
Sutter is happy to be in that mix. He had five power-play goals two years ago, when he finished with 21 goals, but had limited power-play time last season as his total goals dipped to 14.
Sutter played a more defensive role last season, centering the third line. He should improve his offensive output to the 40 point range with more PP time. The subtraction of Erik Cole should give him a nice opening.
Finally, some news several fans have been waiting for, restricted free agent Brandon Sutter agreed to a three-year contract with the Carolina Hurricanes today. The deal will pay the center a total of $6.2 million over the term of the contract, ($1.5 million in year one, $2 million in year two, and $2.7 million in year three.)