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April 21, 2016

Ken Sutton

Ken Sutton was a reliable defenseman who apprenticed with the Buffalo Sabres and Rochester Americans.

The Sabres drafted Sutton 98th overall in the 1989 Entry Draft after Sutton led his Saskatoon Blades to the Memorial Cup tournament. Sutton was named to the Memorial Cup all star team on defense.

Sutton would immediately join the Rochester Americans, but by 1991-92 he was in the NHL on a full time basis. He would play with Buffalo for the next three years, where he benefited from the experience of veterans like Doug Bodger and Petr Svoboda. Sutton would develop into an unsung 5th or 6th defenseman, often a 7th or 8th defenseman.

Sutton lacked elite NHL speed or agility but always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. He was intelligent in moving the puck and had a heavy slap shot from the point which he used too infrequently.

Sutton was traded to the Oilers in 1995, but after a year and a half he was then dealt to St. Louis. After starting the next season in the IHL, the Blues traded Sutton to New Jersey, who then sent him to San Jose. He would return to the Devils organization in 1998-99, but he would star in the AHL where he won the Eddie Shore Award for the league's top defenceman and was named to the first all-star team.

Sutton would continue to play in the minors until 2000-01 when he finally cracked that deep New Jersey defense, and helped them make the Stanley Cup finals in 2001. He would extend his career another season by signing with the New York Islanders in 2001-02.

Sutton would continue to play in the minors and Europe through 2004.

Injuries - especially a broken leg in his sophomore season - curtailed his progress early on. But Ken Sutton had a nice career with 388 NHL games. He scored 23 goals and 103 points.

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