We continue our series of grading each player that played a role for the Stars in the 2009-2010 season. At the end of each feature, you get to select the overall grade for each individual player. This is something we'll continue doing each season, and is a tool we can use to determine a player's progress year by year.
#20 / Left Wing / Dallas Stars
Mar 01, 1982
All stats used in this post courtesy of BehindTheNet.ca and NHL.com
Key Stat: The Stars were 5-1-1 when Sutherby recorded a point last season.
The Good: When not a healthy scratch, Sutherby carved out quite a niche for himself on the fourth line. Despite seeing his TOI/G go down from about 12 minutes in '08-'09 to 8 minutes last season, Sutherby's goals and assist totals didn't change. Neither did his shot percentage. However, if you look at the numbers, Sutherby was an offensive presence when he was on the ice. Among forwards, Sutherby ranked 7th on the team in GFON/60 (Goals for when on the ice) with 2.38. Only Loui Eriksson, Brad Richards, James Neal, Jamie Benn, Brenden Morrow and Brandon Segal ranked higher. And Sutherby's plus/minus was second best on the team.
The Bad: For a fourth line energizer, Sutherby's 88 hits didn't really impress. Mike Ribeiro had more hits, to put that in perspective. And for all the good he did on the ice, a nagging shoulder injury and Mark Crawford's infatuation with Krys Barch led to many stretches of scratches for Sutherby. Brandon Segal's arrival further planted Sutherby on the bench. His faceoff percentage (43%) left a lot to be desired.
The Bottom Line: There's no question in many fans' minds that Brian Sutherby is a better option on the fourth line than Krys Barch, and the numbers tend to show that. I don't think you can ask much more from Sutherby. He is what he is, a player that can chip in a few goals, plays a physical game, and isn't afraid to fight every once and awhile. You have to wonder if not for the shoulder injury, if Crawford would play him more. Either way, it appears the franchise favors Barch, for whatever reason, and there should be a battle between Segal and Sutherby in camp for a roster spot. Looking back on this season for Sutherby, it's hard to categorize it as anything but another solid output given the circumstances.
The Vote: Rate Sutherby on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.