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Season Expectations: Brian Sutherby

This is the first in a long series here at Defending Big D, in which we look ahead at each player's expectations for the upcoming season. We'll start at the bottom of the roster and work our way to the top, starting this morning with Brian Sutherby.

When the Dallas Stars were hit by a rash of injuries last season, Brian Sutherby was one of the role players that stepped up and filled the gaps. Acquired from Anaheim in December in exchange for David McIntyre and a 6th round draft pick, Sutherby immediately became a fixture on the Stars roster, logging important ice time as the season wore on. Sutherby's versatility was perhaps his best asset last season, as he played left and right wing as well as center. While not the player to ever step into the circle for faceoffs, he definitely held his own on a team that struggled winning important faceoffs all season long.

2008 - Brian Sutherby 59 8 7 15 1 71 0 1 0 0 67 11.9

What to expect from Sutherby in 2009? With the Stars once again with a full and healthy roster, he will once again be fighting for playing time on the fourth line. He's a scrappy, high energy center that fit perfectly with how the Stars have used their fourth line in the past. With Marc Crawford coaching the team now, history has shown that he prefers to use three primary lines with the fourth line used extremely sparingly. Yet Sutherby has shown in the past that despite being relegated to the third and fourth lines, he has the offensive skill to produce as a top nine center.

His best season came in 2005-06, when he put up 14 goals and 16 assists, while anchoring the third line. With Crawford implementing his offensive system, Sutherby is a player who could potentially benefit and force his way into more playing time. Yet with the Stars having a fairly loaded top three lines, it's going to be tough. Yet his versatility and energy will always be needed on the Stars and he will remain a valuable asset for this team moving forward.

Our expectations for Brian Sutherby in 2009-10:
64 Games; 9 Goals, 17 assists, 26 Points

What are your expectations for Sutherby?