Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter has been named to the NHL First All Star Team. He is the first ever Wild player to receive that honor. In his first season in Minnesota Suter was a finalist for the Norris trophy, led all NHL players in average time on ice with 27:16 per game, ranked second in assists and third in scoring for all NHL defensemen with 32 points in 48 games, posted 7 muoti point games and blocked 74 shots. WOW, that is one heck of a stat line and he’s going to be in a Wild sweater for years to come! Minnesota’s top defensive pair have now both been named to post season All-Star teams. Jonas Brodin was named to the All-Rookie team last weekend. Suter is definitely deserving of the accolade playing at an incredible, iron man level all season. He topped 30 minutes in ice time 10 times during the lock out shortened season, including an amazing career high 32:54 in a game against the Colorado Avalanche on April 27th. During the overtime game 1 during the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Chicago Blackhawks he skated a Minnesota Wild playoff record 41:08. During the regular season he was a regular on both the top power play and penalty kill units, 3 of his 4 goals came with the man advantage. He’s skated in 590 NHL games scoring 42 goals and adding 228 assists for a total of 270 points over 8 seasons. In just a single season in Minnesota Suter has arguably become the best defenseman to ever call the Excel Energy Center Home. I was just a year ago, July 4th, that the Wild stunned the hockey world by signing Suter and Zach Parise to 13 year 98-million dollar contracts. Suter has fit in smoothly with the rest of the Wild roster and has become a quiet leader in the locker room as well as on the ice. Watching Suter on the ice is a tutorial in defense. He never seems to be out of position or take a bad penalty. In 48 games he accumulated just 24 penalty minutes. 6’1″, 198 lb. Suter is great with his stick and makes clean, crisp passes out of the defensive zone or carries the puck out himself rarely giving up a turnover.
Suter finished 2nd to P.K. Subban in the All Star voting by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Suter picked up 713 total votes. (112-1st place, 46-2nd place, 15-3rd place) The rest of the 1st team All Stars are goal tender Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets, center Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, right wing Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, left wing Chris Kunitz of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and defenseman Subban of the Montreal Canadiens.
The Second All Star team consists of; goal tender Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers,defenseman Francois Beauchemin of the Anaheim Ducks,defenseman Kris Letang, center Jonathon Toews 0f the Chicago Blackhawks, right wing Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning, left wing Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.
Yes, you read that right. Alex Ovechkin was named to the first and second teams as a right wing first team and a left wing on the second team. He played all but 4 games last season at right wing. That kind of makes you wonder how much research some members of the PHWA did before submitting their ballots. I think players should only be eligible for one position and must play more than 80% of games at that position to be on the ballot. Enough about that though. Congratulations to Ryan Suter and Joans Brodin for making their respective All Star teams. The Wild are looking good heading into the 2013-14 NHL season. Many of the pieces are in place for a deep playoff run. Free agency begins in a couple of days and we’ll see how the dollars vs players available issues work out. Many teams are up against the salary cap and it should be a buyer’s market. Until next time this is Scott Drain saying, “Let’s Go Wild!!”