Former Blackhawk of the Week: Brent Sutter

A member of one of hockey’s most famous families spent seven seasons with the Hawks

With the Chicago Blackhawks facing Brandon Sutter and the rest of the Vancouver Canucks tonight, it was perfect timing to dive into the storybook of one of hockey’s most famous families with this week’s Former Blackhawk of the Week: Brent Sutter.

Sutter’s NHL career spanned 1,111 games, split between the Blackhawks and the New York Islanders, who drafted him in the first round (17th overall) of the 1980 NHL Draft. He made his debut in the ensuing season and won consecutive Stanley Cups with the Islanders at the ages of 19 and 20. His peak season was with the 1984-85 Islanders, scoring 102 points in 72 games. Sutter came to Chicago in 1991 as part of a trade that sent Adam Creighton and Steve Thomas to New York. Sutter was a prototypical two-way player, earning nominations for the Selke Trophy in 11 seasons, peaking at No. 4 on the voting list on three separate occasions.

The peak moment of Sutter’s Chicago career? That’s easy: his Game 4 goal against the Detroit Red Wings in the 1992 Norris Division Finals, completing Chicago’s sweep of their bitter rivals in that Stanley Cup Playoff series.

After retiring in 1998, Sutter turned to coaching, leading the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL and Canada’s junior teams before getting NHL stints as the head coach of the Calgary Flames and New Jersey Devils. Currently, Sutter is back with the Rebels as their head coach and general manager.

The Sutter Family’s Hockey Lineage

During the 80s and 90s, it was hard to talk about hockey without mentioning a Sutter. Of the seven siblings, six played in the NHL, with at least one occupying an NHL roster spot from the 1976-77 season through 2000-01 — an incredible 24-season run. And all six played in the NHL from 1982-83 to 1986-87.

Brent had the longest career, but he was joined in the NHL by brothers Brian (who has already appeared in an earlier version of this series), Darryl, Duane, and twins Ron and Rich. Rich spent two seasons in Chicago, Duane was there for three, and Darryl was there for eight. Like the majority of his siblings, Darryl transitioned to a coaching role and coached Brent for three seasons in the 90s before stepping down in 1995. Darryl later coached the Los Angeles Kings to two Stanley Cup championships in the 2010s.

And now, it’s the second generation of Sutters making its way into the NHL. Brent’s son, Brandon, will be taking on the Hawks tonight. Brett Sutter, Darryl’s son, appeared in 60 NHL games with three different teams earlier this decade. Brody Sutter, Duane’s son, played 12 games in two seasons for the Carolina Hurricanes, but hasn’t been in an NHL game since the 2015-16 season. Lukas Sutter, Rich’s son, was a second-round draft pick of the Winnipeg Jets in the 2012 NHL Draft and then a seventh-round pick of the Islanders in the 2014 NHL Draft, but hasn’t made his NHL debut.