SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers ink Sutton to extension

Defenceman Andy Sutton will be back with the Oilers for one more season. (Ian Kucerak/QMI Agency)

Defenceman Andy Sutton will be back with the Oilers for one more season. (Ian Kucerak/QMI Agency)

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, Last Updated: 1:15 AM ET

EDMONTON - He might have been Edmonton’s biggest bargaining chip — and not just because he’s 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds.

With almost every team in the NHL looking for tough, safe, solid, experienced and affordable defencemen who are great in the room, Oilers GM Steve Tambellini knew he’d be fielding plenty of offers for soon-to-be UFA defenceman Andy Sutton.

But if everybody in the league wants one of your players, thought Tambellini, maybe it’s best to keep him.

So they did, signing Sutton to a one-year contract worth $1.75 million.

“I let Steve know pretty early I wanted to stay here,” said the big blueliner. “It took a little while, a bit of a process, but it’s great to get it done.”

What didn’t take long was for Sutton, who initially signed a one-year deal with Edmonton last summer, to develop a fondness for the team and the town. He knew he was a prime candidate to get moved at the deadline, and even though a trade to a contender meant a playoff run, he wasn’t interested in packing up.

“I love the city, I love the guys, the organization is great, heading in the right direction,” he said. “I couldn’t think of a better place to be.

“I let them know I didn’t want to move, that I definitely didn’t want to go anywhere at the trade deadline if I had my choice. I don’t want to leave, then go through free agency again this summer and try to re-sign.

“I’ve done a lot of moving over the last few years. I just got my family here about two weeks ago so we weren’t looking forward to moving again. It was great of them to keep me around for the rest of the season.”

And they’re glad to have him back for next year.

“He’s one of those guys who brings a calm to our dressing room and he has experience in the game,” said head coach Tom Renney, who isn’t surprised that Edmonton grew on him.

“I think once guys get here they want to stay here. That’s the nature of our organization, that’s the nature of our growth and our arrow-up look.”

With Sutton inked, the Oilers have five defencemen under contract for next season: Sutton, Ryan Whitney, Tom Gilbert, Ladislav Smid and Corey Potter. Cam Barker, Theo Peckham and Jeff Petry are restricted free agents.

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca

@SUN_TYCHKOWSKI


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