Ryan Suter has long been seen as the elite defenseman for the Minnesota Wild. That has been reflected in his deployment and ice-time; now, Matt Dumba has really started to challenge this status.
Ryan Suter, for years has led the Minnesota Wild in ice-time. He’s relied upon to face up with the toughest competition and still produce points. Of late, it seems Matt Dumba has been earning more and more trust in the eyes of head coach, Bruce Boudreau.
This season thus far, Ryan Suter leads the Minnesota Wild team with an average time on ice of 26:01. That is followed directly by Matt Dumba, who clocks 24:16.
Now, one of those players is 33, the other is 24. You’d surely expect the younger guy to be taking the majority of time, but instead it’s the veteran that ranks highest.
Ask any hockey player and regardless of their level, the amount of ice time they see is important to them.
As such, it wouldn’t shock me if Matt Dumba has a list of Minnesota Wild ice-times on his wall as a constant reminder that he needs to bring his closer (and eventually overtake) Ryan Suter.
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With 12 points in the last 10 games, it’s really clear to see that the ice time doesn’t have ill effect on Suter, despite the fact that he is likely still rehabbing from the injury that kept him out of last year’s playoffs and this year’s pre-season.
Perhaps most telling is that Matt Dumba and Ryan Suter are partners on the top pairing this season; 89.4% of their even-strength ice-time being played alongside each other.
That suggests that it’s literally only power-play time that is proving a difference.
In which case, it is up to Matt Dumba to prove himself in terms of quarter-backing a power-play unit successfully.
Granted, it is something whereby he is only part in control, but Suter’s point streak is occurring not just because of good teammates. He’s finding ways to tally those points, regardless of the forward group in front of him.
I’d be very happy to see Matt Dumba continuing to limit the gap between himself and Ryan Suter; we’ve seen that having a strong defensive core can often lead to good successes come the business end of the season.
The sooner they’re playing near even time, the better for the Minnesota Wild.
Statistics courtesy of Dobber Sports.