Blackhawks: Pius Suter Could Be Major Factor in the 2020-2021 Lineup
By Michael Wagner
With the salary cap likely to be tight in the 2020-2021 season, newly signed Pius Suter could be a value impact player for the Chicago Blackhawks lineup.
When the Blackhawks traded for an unknown talent in Dominik Kubalik, who at the time was the leading scorer in the Swiss Hockey League. Kubalik has developed into an extremely productive player and Calder finalist in his first season in the NHL and has even drawn into the top line for the Blackhawks.
With the success of a player from the Swiss league coming to the NHL and making an impact immediately, general manager Stan Bowman is hoping to capture more magic with the signing of Swiss League MVP Pius Suter. Suter was named MVP of the Swiss League after a breakout season for the 24-year-old forward in which he scored 53 points in 50 games.
Bowman won out in what sounds like a competitive race for his services and is very much hoping to capture similar results as he had with the sensational Kubalik. Suter when undrafted after spending his teenage years in the OHL with the Guelph Storm and after the 2015 season would leave the OHL to go professional in Europe.
While never a standout player in the Swiss Leagues, Suter had been a solid contributor until he exploded onto the scene this season. He nearly doubled the number of goals he scored from his career-high with 30 goals, his previous career-high of 17 goals.
While it is exciting to see that the Blackhawks were able to win out in the bidding for Suter it also has to make you wonder how he will be able to translate his game to the NHL. Bowman has had a mix of successes and failures with European free agents, notably with big hits like Artemi Panarin and Dominik Kahun but has also had some swings and misses with players like Anton Wedin and Michael Kempny.
Time, of course, will tell if the Blackhawks have another hit on their hands with Suter but players like him will be key going forward with the stagnant cap over because of the global pandemic. With the cap basically frozen, entry-level talent is going to be immensely important, and with them able to secure talent like Suter it is just another cheap skilled player they can potentially inject into their lineup.
Couple his affordability with the fact that he has some familiarity with Blackhawks assistant Marc Crawford, who coached him in Zurich. Suter will be an opportunity from day one to make the NHL lineup, the question will be will his skill translate to the NHL and if it does the Blackhawks might have major addition for 2021.