Sutch on the move; Harsh words for the Cat

While one Sabres prospect, Daniel Catenacci, awaits a trade out of Sault Ste. Marie, another pipeline forward out of the OHL was actually moved Thursday as Gregg Sutch has been dealt by the Mississauga-St. Michael's Majors to the Barrie Colts for a package of draft picks. The deal is awaiting league approval based on a conditional pick relative to Sutch playing an overage year. (EDIT: the deal has been approved.)

Sutch, who last season posted career highs with a line of 8-20-28 +20 79 PIM, joins another Sabres fifth-rounder, Alex Lepkowski ('11), on the Colts roster. A broken wrist suffered during the Memorial Cup kept Sutch out of scrimmages at last month's development camp, but he's expected to be fully healed when Barrie opens camp at the end of the month.

More on Sutch's 2010-11 campaign from the Spring prospect rankings:

The 6'2 forward upped his production this past season as a member of the loaded Memorial Cup hosts, but he'll never be considered an "offensive" player. Sutch, who was instead drafted for his ability to work and hit, is a penetrating grinder who makes his mark with an intense forecheck and strong cycle work. He's solid on his skates and does a good job using his body to protect the puck.

After showing improvement in the first half of the year, Sutch experienced a slow reset from a January concussion that served as the first sign of a developmental flatline. As the Majors were getting greased for the deep playoff year, Sutch shuffled in and out of the lineup before eventually fading into a pressbox mainstay. Not a particularly good sign after the previous year saw him miss time due to an ankle sprain, staph infection, and separated shoulder.

Sutch, who naturally has his head up at all times due to his severe hearing impairment, will return to the OHL in 2011-12 where he'll look to a) stay healthy, and b) get back on plan with his pesky, power forward game that made him the 11th overall pick in the 2008 bantam draft. He's persevered through every level of hockey, making him one to root for as his career plays out.

Sutch is expected to add size and experience to a Colts club that will see the return of its top three scorers from year ago. One of those weapons, Steven Beyers, attended the Sabres development camp after a 65-point effort in 2010-11 and will likely get the benefit of an extended audition now that the Sabres scouting staff will keeping tabs in Barrie for Sutch's decision year.


While Catenacci plans his sit-out, Sault Star columnist Peter Ruicci stirred it up with his pen this week, claiming that he's looking forward to two days this season: the Hounds opener and the day Catenacci is traded. While it's still unclear what exactly is driving the demand of out Soo, the article does shed a little light on the issue.

It has nothing to do with ice time," he said when asked.

Peppered with more questions, Maurice added: "It's a great organization, we love the people of Sault Ste. Marie and Daniel loves his teammates. We're grateful for the two years we've had up there, but sometimes these things happen in sports."

Again asked about specific reasons for seeking a trade, Maurice politely said he'd "prefer not to comment further at this time" and, he added, "Daniel prefers not to comment."

Dubas won't say anything either. For now.

Ferris, reached Wednesday, also refused comment. He wouldn't even confirm it was the Catenacci camp that asked for a trade.

That's despite the fact Ferris said on Aug. 13 the concerns he and the Catenaccis had "were of a serious nature. They couldn't be resolved and I guess that's why we're where we are today."

So we have Catenacci's father speaking positively about the organization and the agent saying that the concerns are near dire.

According to sources close to the star player, Daniel Catenacci's been telling his Greyhounds teammates the trade request "wasn't his decision."

Whether he means someone (his agent or father) helped convince him seeking a deal was the right way to go, or whether he's trying to suggest it was the Hounds who made the decision to trade him, is unknown.

One thing not mentioned in the article is that former NHLPA player agent Kyle Dubas, 25, became the youngest GM in CHL history this offseason - a situation the Catenacci camp may not be excited to be a part of.

It can't be the distance thing, right? While the drive from Catenacci's Newmarket home to Sault Ste. Marie is over eight hours long, it's hard to imagine that'd be something of "serious nature" (barring personal family matters of course).

Luicci continues:

What I do know is this: With teammates Ryan Sproul and Nick Cousins selected before him, Catenacci slipped into the third round of the NHL draft, taken 77th overall by the Buffalo Sabres.

That's after telling me in a pre-draft interview he believed, based on what Ferris was telling him, he'd be a first-round choice.

It had to be a huge disappointment for a kid with a lot of pride.

Two NHL scouts I spoke to after the draft blamed Catenacci's fall on ego and poor attitude, traits they say he exhibited at the IIHF Under-18 championships in Germany.

I expect Cateancci to be dealt right before the season revs up. The Greyhounds will want to rid themselves of the distraction, and it's possible the Sabres could apply some heat on both sides to get their property on the ice. With little leverage and unquestionable aspirations to someday be in the NHL, neither Dubas or Catenacci should be looking to gain a rep with one of a possible thirty future employers.
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