Minnesota Wild: Ryan Suter Snubbed from All-Star Roster

Dec 15, 2015; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter (20) in the second period against the Vancouver Canucks at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 15, 2015; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter (20) in the second period against the Vancouver Canucks at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

The NHL has decided to change the All-Star Game format this year good on them for trying, but do they realize that selection snubs like the Minnesota Wild’s Ryan Suter will be plentiful in the games to come?

To inject new life into the All-Star Game the NHL, as many of you have heard, has decided to change the format of the game into a 3-on-3 tournament with the teams being comprised of the four divisions.  The idea here is to breathe new life into the game and showcase the new 3-on-3 overtime format the league has adopted this season.  The rosters were announced a week ago and now with only one Minnesota Wild player Devan Dubnyk being named to the Central Division roster.

I can think of one Wild player that should have been named to the Central’s roster.  Probably most noticed around the league as snub from any team was Ryan Suter.  As I’ve written before Suter is having a career year with Norris Trophy possibilities.  He’s boasting 28 pts thus far which is still good enough to be in the top ten of defensemen, but far more telling of his season is that he is currently a very close second in the entire NHL in Average Ice Time.  Yet Nashville has two defensemen

Yet Nashville has two defensemen Josi and Weber who rank 15th and 18th respectively in Average Ice Time, almost four minutes a game less that Suter.  And plus minus wise Josi is currently a -5 and Weber is currently -6 compared to Suter’s +12.  I can’t see why logically that Suter doesn’t get in over these two players.  I’d mention how Suter stacks up to Dustin Byfuglien, but it’s not any closer and hardly worth comparing.

With the Wild having a solid season it begs the question why did we not see Suter or more Wild players named to the All-Star roster?  Host city Nashville who is currently 5th in the Central had the most players with three, Chicago and Dallas had two players, and Winnipeg, Colorado, and St. Louis join the Wild with one player.  It seems to me when you look at it closely, you see some things past the player’s numbers and performance that have made this situation.

The first reason was eluded to earlier when I mentioned that Nashville had the most with three players named.  That says to me that it’s simply a matter the of the NHL favoring the host city.  Josi and Weber’s numbers compared to their peers at defense in the NHL have been discussed previously, but additionally Pekka Rinne is really only having an average season with a .902 SV% and 2.48 GAA.  That’s not even in the top twenty in goaltenders in the NHL.  There’s obviously some bias here because there are many more deserving players in the Central.

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Perhaps more importantly is that the structure of the rosters themselves have made a situation whereby there is not enough room for every deserving player.  With the two way spilt of the conference you force a division of what would normally make four full forward lines and three defensive pairings.  That’s just not as many spots to go around as there was.  Keep in mind the unwritten rule that every team must have a participant, and you shrink the available slots down even more.

Still I think that the Central is so much stronger than the Pacific you see the same problem with the current playoff system play out here.  Many of the players on the roster are certainly not having as strong a year as ones on the Central roster.  So it inevitable that deserving/higher performing players like Suter from the Central cannot dominate what would have been a full roster Western Conference team.

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So many reasons, but still all adds up to Ryan Suter not being selected for the All-Star Game.  I really think this could be an issue for not only the Wild but the league as a whole.  The division of the teams and the need for host city bias virtually ensures more snubs in the future.  Let’s just hope that the Wild get to host a game in the future so we can have more than one player play in the All-Star Game.