NEW YORK -- Seventh-round draft picks don't often make it to the National Hockey League.
When the Canes made Brody Sutter a seventh-round selection in 2011, the 193rd player chosen, it was almost as if they were playing a hunch on the famous NHL family name and banking on Brody having good hockey genes.
But Sutter, 23, has beaten the odds. The Canes needed another forward Thursday against the New York Rangers. Sutter was called up from the Charlotte Checkers (AHL) and will make his NHL debut -- at Madison Square Garden.
Sutter was beaming Thursday morning as he took the ice at the Garden for the morning skate.
"He's ear-to-ear," Canes coach Bill Peters said. "He's worked hard. He's earned it. With the injuries we have, he's the next guy up and he's going to get his opportunity."
That's all Sutter wanted.
"It's pretty cool," he said. "First callup. Obviously I'm excited. It'll probably be a little faster than the preseason games I was in, but I'm ready for the challenge."
Sutter will be used as the fourth-line center and at the morning skate was on a line with wingers Brad Malone and Patrick Brown. Riley Nash will center Jiri Tlusty and Alex Semin, Victor Rask was at center with Nathan Gerbe and Elias Lindholm, and Jay McClement centered Chris Terry and Zach Boychuk.
Sutter, listed at 6-5 and 203 pounds, is the son of Duane Sutter, a former NHL player, coach and general manager, and now a scout for the Edmonton Oilers. He's the cousin of former Canes forwards Brandon Sutter and Brett Sutter.
Brody Sutter played 69 games for the Checkers last season, setting career highs in games, goals (8), assists (20) and points (28). He had a strong training camp last month with the Canes and has played well in early Checkers game, earning the call up.
"The first time, I got passed through the (NHL) draft," Sutter said. "The second time I went through I went in the seventh round. It was a long road but I'm happy to be here."
At Madison Square Garden.
"Obviously the most famous arena in the world," Sutter said, grinning. "I guess it's a little bit more the big stage but it's just hockey. Once you drop the puck it doesn't matter where you're playing."
None of his family were able to get to New York for the game on short notice. As for any fatherly advice he received, Brody smiled and said, "Play good tonight so I can earn myself some more games out West."
Sutter also joked that some of the Canes "veterans" such as Rask, who now has played three NHL games, also have been helpful.
"I was talking to Vic this morning and he's the show guy now," Sutter said. "He was big-doggin' me a little bit."