Pius Suter is one of the Detroit Red Wings’ most notable pending unrestricted free agents (UFA) heading into the 2023 NHL Offseason. Although his offensive production went down this season (24 points in 79 games), he proved to be a valuable part of their roster due to his versatility and strong defensive play. As a result, if Suter tests the free-agent market this summer, there should be plenty of interest him. Let’s now discuss three specific free-agent destinations for the 26-year-old.
One of the Vancouver Canucks’ biggest objectives this offseason is to find a legitimate third-line center. Players like Sheldon Dries, Nils Aman, and Jack Studnicka have not proven to be the answer for the 3C role, but a player like Suter certainly could be. This is especially so if he can get his offensive production back up, and that certainly seems possible. Keep in mind, this is a player who posted a 36-point campaign in 82 games for the Red Wings just back in 2021-22.
Suter would also be a very solid player for the Canucks to add to their penalty kill. This is because he has shown that he can handle that important responsibility with ease. Furthermore, he also could be in the running for top-six minutes when injuries occur, as he can play all three positions. Overall, he seems like a great fit for the Canucks for several reasons, so it would not be surprising if general manager (GM) Patrik Allvin makes a push for him in free agency.
Lastly, Suter is not expected to break the bank with his next contract, so Vancouver could find a way to bring him if they move out some salary beforehand.
The Pittsburgh Penguins had an extremely disappointing 2022-23 season, and they fired Brian Burke and Ron Hextall because of it. They missed the postseason for the first time since 2006, and they are expected to make some changes to their current roster in response to this. With the Penguins having several pending UFAs like Jason Zucker, Nick Bonino, Danton Heinen, and Josh Archibald, they will likely pursue forwards in free agency. On paper, Suter looks like a marvelous fit because of this.
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When looking at a specific spot for Suter in Pittsburgh’s lineup, he could be a potential upgrade over Jeff Carter as the club’s 3C. However, Suter’s versatility could also allow him to be a solid option on the team’s third line at either left wing or right wing. Furthermore, he would be a candidate to be utilized on both of their special-team units due to his solid all-around game.
Although Suter would not be the flashiest of signings for the Penguins, he would give them an effective third-liner, and that is something they need after how poorly this campaign went for them.
St. Louis Blues
Like the Pittsburgh Penguins, the St. Louis Blues performed far below expectations in 2022-23 and missed the playoffs because of it. At the deadline, they were far out of the playoff race, so they parted ways with forwards Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko, Ivan Barbashev, and Noel Acciari. Due to this, it is clear that their forward depth has taken a notable hit since, so we could see the Blues look to add a reliable third-line forward like Suter this summer.
If the Blues successfully signed Suter, he would work nicely in their bottom six. He could serve as an upgrade over Jake Neighbours at third-line left wing but would also be in the mix to be the club’s 3C. Furthermore, he would also give their second power-play unit a boost, as he does a good job of creating plays because of his solid passing ability. Lastly, he would surely be another option for the Blues to use on their penalty kill.
Although Suter is not the biggest pending UFA out there, I expect him to get interest from not only these three teams but several more if he hits the market. However, I also would not be surprised if Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman elects to bring him back. We will need to wait and see what happens with the three-year NHLer from here.