Those who feel that Brandon Sutter isn't and never will be Jordan Staal's replacement are right. But they're also unrealistic. Sutter will never be Jordan Staal. It is a bit unfair to chastise everything Sutter does, given the potluck crew of linemates he has played with this season.
Ranging from Taylor Pyatt, Tanner Glass, Craig Adams, Brian Gibbons, and more, Sutter's advanced stats were in a very bad place. He spent a 10-15 game stretch with awful numbers. Then the trade deadline came along. The Penguins acquired Marcel Goc (who was here short term before he was injured) and Lee Stempniak to boost their depth, and Beau Bennett returned to the lineup healthy, and looking perhaps the best he has in a Penguins uniform.
Sutter's play has suffered, essentially due to the lack of quality linemates. When you look at Sutter's play since the deadline and addition of Bennett, his numbers have improved. Playing consistently with quality talent in Stempniak or Bennett should keep these numbers trending in the right direction.
Sutter doesn't need to be elite, great, or Jordan Staal. When Crosby, Malkin, and company are firing on all cylinders, a serviceable Brandon Sutter is all this team needs. Let's hope that he can continue to be just that and score a few more big goals