Homecoming, of sorts, for Oilers Andy Sutton

Andy Sutton will be back patrolling the Oilers' blue-line Saturday in Ottawa after being a healthy...

Andy Sutton will be back patrolling the Oilers' blue-line Saturday in Ottawa after being a healthy scratch the last two games.(QMI Agency)

Derek Van Diest, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:44 PM ET

Saturday will be a homecoming of sorts for Edmonton Oilers defenceman Andy Sutton.

And to commemorate the day, he’ll make a return to the lineup, expected to take Cam Barker’s spot on the blue-line.

A 14-year NHL veteran, Sutton spent a brief time with the Senators in 2010, getting a chance to play a couple of hours away from his family, who he was able to get reacquainted with on this recent visit.

“My family is in Kingston which is nice,” Sutton said. “My dad and nephew will be at the game which will be nice. My mom and I had a little slumber party (Thursday) night, so it’ll be nice to see everybody.”

Sutton, 36, has been a healthy scratch for the Oilers’ last two games as Tom Gilbert made a return to the lineup.

Coincidently, the Oilers have struggled defensively and had their compete-level questioned in losses to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings.

Despite not being happy about his assignment to the press box, Sutton understands the reasoning behind it.

“They had guys back, I’m 36, I understand my role,” he said. “If my role is to sit out a few games so that somebody else can play, then that’s the way it’s going to be going forward. I can only control what I can control, be a good teammate and keep things positive around here, talk to the guys and be ready to play.

“I’ve missed about 500 games due to injury throughout my career, so I’ve watched far too much hockey. It is difficult to watch, especially when the team is losing and not losing well. We didn’t look strong in some parts of those games, so it’ll be good to get back, and try to help the team be more stable defensively.”

As an unrestricted free agent this summer, Sutton’s name has come up in trade talks leading up to the Feb. 27 deadline, although there is a strong case for re-signing the gritty blue-liner next season.

“That’s always on your mind, everyone always wants to know where you’re going to be tomorrow,” he said “At the same time, I’m not the general manager, I’m the player. The worst thing I can do is to is worry about it where it affects my performance negatively. That doesn’t get you re-signed here and that doesn’t make anyone else want you either. You have kind of control your own destiny try to stay calm, not think about it too much and just focus on playing well.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

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