Edmonton Oilers defenceman Andy Sutton will undergo knee surgery in a few weeks, and the road to recovery has the veteran reflecting on his NHL future.
Speaking to NHL Insider Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com, Sutton pointed out that the rehab attached to the surgery is long and arduous. And with the current situation in collective bargaining talks between the NHL and the NHLPA, he's not sure how he'll come out of it on the other side.
"I didn't know that the last game of the season we played in Vancouver may have inevitably been my last," Sutton told ESPN.com this week. "It's definitely not the way I thought I'd go out after a good, long career. But at the same time, this has allowed me to be here around my family now. I think having a child has changed my perspective about everything and certainly my priorities."
The 37-year-old Sutton suffered a knee injury this summer and had arthroscopic surgery in early October. He must now undergo a second procedure on his knee.
"I basically broke a chunk off my femur, the piece I broke off was giving me a lot of discomfort, so they went in and sort of cleaned up my knee and took out the chunk," Sutton said. "Now, I have to repair the defect that's there. Otherwise, it'll just keep getting bigger.
"It's bone on bone in two spots in my knee. I have another surgery scheduled in the next few weeks in Santa Monica to fix that defect. And I guess the road to recovery from that is quite long and arduous. So I don't know, this is going to be my 12th surgery, I'm pretty tired of what I've done to my body."
Sutton will be an unrestricted free agent after this season and doesn't know what the future holds for him, but said the allure of coming back to play with a young Oilers squad has him not closing the door on playing again.
"The last couple of years my role has diminished significantly, but it's been a lot of fun in Anaheim two years ago spending time with young guys like Cam Fowler and Luca Sbisa, and last year in Edmonton with all the young guys there," Sutton said. "They give you so much energy; they really reinvigorated my desire to come to the rink every day.
"So I don't know, it's tempting. But at the same time my wife and I are going to try to have another child in the next little while. I think we'll just leave it open and see how the rehab goes and see how the season shakes out with these labor negotiations."