As we await the beginning of the new NHL season, I’ll be previewing each of the players in the Minnesota Wild system who will be on the roster, or competing for a place this year. My subject for this edition is Ryan Suter.
During the 2012 offseason, the Minnesota Wild signed, marquee free-agent, Ryan Suter to a 13-year, $98 million dollar contract. He had a solid debut season after taking a few games to find his feet. He began the year partnering Jared Spurgon and then Tom Gilbert, before finding a permanent partner in the form of 19-year old Swedish rookie Jonas Brodin. Suter received plaudits around the league for his offensive performance and the amount of ice-time he was logging each game. He was nominated for the Norris Trophy, but was beaten out in the end by P.K Subban.
Here are some of his regular season numbers from last year:
|SHOOTING %/SHOTS ATTEMPTED||4.4/91|
Suter was the Wild’s do-everything player on the back end this year. The numbers that stand out right from the off are his 32 points (3rd among all league defencemen), 15 powerplay points (7th among all league defencemen) and 27:16 TOI/G (1st in the league among defencemen). He was a beast offensively and was always on the ice, chalking up huge ice time at even-strength, on the powerplay and on the penalty kill. Somehow, he still managed to dress for every regular season and playoff game, not missing any time with injuries.
Here are his underlying numbers from last year:
|OFFENSIVE ZONE START %||49.9|
|OFFENSIVE ZONE FINISH %||44.3|
|QUALITY OF COMPETITION||0.204|
|SHOTS FOR/20 MINS||9.263|
|GOALS FOR/20 MINS||0.700|
|SHOTS AGAINST/20 MINS||9.178|
|GOALS AGAINST/20 MINS||0.678|
|5v5 1st ASSIST/60||0.254|
The underlying numbers take a little bit of the shine off Suter’s performance this year. His possession stats are quite poor, showing negative Corsi ratings. This is probably due to the fact that he was on the ice at 5v5 a lot all year, on a Wild team that was generally very poor in possession. The team’s shots for/against per 20 minutes while Suter was on the ice this year are almost identical, as are the goals for/against per 20 minutes.
His PDO is right where it should be at 1003, so there was good/bad luck didn’t affect Suter’s performance much and there is no reason to expect his offensive numbers to regress next year.
Here’s the player usage chart for all Wild d-men who played at least 20 games:
(Click To Enlarge) (Bubble Size=Corsi On Rating. Blue Bubble=Postive. Red Bubble=Negative)
Suter’s performance in this coming season is going to depend on a few factors that are out of his control. Jonas Brodin will need to continue from where he left off last year, Spurgeon will need to continue his impressive development into an excellent NHL blueliner, Marco Scandella will need to get his career back on track after getting buried in the AHL last year until a revival in the playoffs, and Keith Ballard will need to find his feet again after a rocky time in Vancouver. If these things happen, then a lot of the pressure will be lifted off Suter’s shoulders and it will be much easier for him to continue to be effective.
Regardless of the possibility of having a stronger d-corps around him this year, I still think Suter will contribute heavy minutes at 5v5 and on special teams. It would be beneficial to the Wild if he did not have to. The team needs him around for the whole year and into the playoffs, so making sure he doesn’t get over-worked and possibly injured is vitally important..
I expect that if he stays healthy, Suter will have a similar year in terms of production. His career arc shows that he is just hitting his prime:
His Season Is A Success If…
His Season Is A Disappointment If…
….his production drops-off or the heavy-workload causes him to get injured and miss significant time.
Okay, that’s it for Ryan Suter. Next, I’ll be taking a look at Jonas Brodin and previewing his 2013/2014 campaign.
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*Numbers in this article courtesy of: