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Blue Jackets Prospect Profile: Brandon Sugden

Tuesday, 09.06.2005 / 12:00 AM / News
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Blue Jackets Prospect Profile: Brandon Sugden
Blue Jackets radio voice George Matthews resumes his summer-long look at the team's top prospects with Syracuse Crunch tough-man Brandon Sugden.

Brandon Sugden
Forward
Born: June 23, 1978 (27)
Height: 6'4
Weight: 225 pounds
Shoots: Left
Drafted: Toronto's eight pick, 111th overall, at the 1996 NHL Entry Draft
Acquired:
Signed as a free agent by the Blue Jackets on April 12, 2004

Stats:
Has scored 4-5-9 with 591 penalty minutes in 118 career AHL games. In 2004-05, he scored one goal with 252 PIMs in 45 games, while registering a +3 plus-minus rating.

Overview:
- In his role as enforcer, he's as good as there is in the AHL, but will need to supplant Jody Shelley in order to earn a spot on the NHL squad.
- Has greatly improved his strength and conditioning over the past two years.
- Skating has improved, but he'll likely need to make further improvements to keep up with the new NHL rules.
- Has limited offensive skill.
- Has improved his defensive play, as evidenced by his +3 rating (among the team leaders).

Road to the NHL:
He has the toughness and mentality to be top-level NHL enforcer, however the enforcers role in the new NHL has yet to be determined, so he needs to continue to improve his skill set in order to make it in the NHL. Of biggest importance is improving his foot speed. Over the past two seasons in Syracuse, he's learned to keep the play simple and as a result has greatly improved as a defensive forward. If he continues to round out his skills, there's no reason why he can't compete for an NHL job this season.

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