Pius Suter already looks like a good fit with Detroit Red Wings. Here’s why

Detroit Free Press

TRAVERSE CITY — Pius Suter is making a good impression at Detroit Red Wings camp, showing off the smarts and scoring touch that made him such an attractive offseason acquisition.

He scored during Sunday’s scrimmage, helping team White defeat team Red, 3-2. Suter built on a solid first three days of training camp with the performance at Centre Ice Arena, making a good impression as general manager Steve Yzerman watched from a corner perch and coach Jeff Blashill watched from the press box.

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Tentatively, Blashill has Suter paired with Robby Fabbri, to see if they can build chemistry similar to that between Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi.

I envision Larks and Bert playing together and we’ll see who plays on the right side,” Blashill said. “With Suits, it certainly could be with Fabs. That line was good today. Suits brings a lot to the table in a lot of different ways. He’s a really smart player. I’ve been impressed with him so far. He’s a very head-y player.”

Suter, 25, is a late bloomer to the NHL: Attempts to catch on with the Ottawa Senators (2017) and New York Islanders (2018) fizzled, and Suter played five seasons in his native Switzerland before a successful stint with the Chicago Blackhawks last season. When he wasn’t extended by the Hawks, Yzerman signed Suter to a two-year, $6.5 million deal.

The message when Suter met with Blashill before camp was to play the style of hockey that netted 14 goals and 13 assists in 55 games.

“Just keep doing what I did,” Suter said. “For me, it’s just to keep doing what I did last year and make the team better.”

At 5 feet 11 and 174 pounds, Suter is on the smaller side. But he balances his lack of size with smarts.

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“He doesn’t have wow-you physical tools; he doesn’t shoot it a million miles an hour, he doesn’t skate like crazy, he isn’t super big, but he’s really head-y and he’s really smart and he knows where to be,” Blashill said. “And when I say smart, it’s both offensively and defensively. He’s good at both those sides. He’s efficient with the game. So far he has done a really good job.”

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Suter scored when he took the puck off Moritz Seider in Seider’s own zone, shrugged off another defender and skated to the slot.

“Seider got careless there and Suits stayed with it and found a way to score,” Blashill said.

The expectation is Suter will center the second line and help provide a more balanced offense. In addition to being on a power play unit, Suter could also be a fit killing penalties.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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