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  • 2019 Minnesota Wild Year-End Player Review: Ryan Suter

    Giles Ferrell

    Ryan Suter
    Age: 34
    Position: Defenseman
    2018-19 Stats: 7G-40A-47P
    Contract Status: Signed for six more seasons through 2025 ($7.53 million AAV)

    It was a season that started with extreme uncertainty for Ryan Suter as he was coming off a severe ankle injury that he suffered last March in Dallas.

    While the Wild were trying to exercise caution with their top defenseman, the Madison native was determined to not miss a game this season as he rehabbed at an incredible pace over the summer. Suter's goal was accomplished as he suited up for opening night on Oct. 4 against Colorado. On brand, Suter played a team-high 25:21 that night in the 4-1 loss.

    Suter appeared to maybe be a step behind on the ice, but his point totals certainly picked up where he left off from last season and better. Twelve points (3G-9A) in 12 games was how Suter kicked off his October as he settled in on a defensive pairing with Matt Dumba, who was also off to a blazing start offensively.

    After Dumba's injury in mid-December, Suter went back to being on a pair with Jared Spurgeon which lasted for the remainder of the year. As expected, the pairing was Minnesota's best through the end of the year.

    [caption id=attachment_49081" align="alignnone" width="1998]suter-2.png via Sean Tierney, @chartinghockey[/caption]

    Suter did take a dip in power play points this season as he scored 15 (3G-12A) compared to 23 (1G-22A) in 2017-18. But just about any other metric Suter was right along the lines of where he was last season, if not better, before his ankle injury.

    The on-ice expected goal differential for Suter actually went up from 2017-18's 14.67 to 2018-19's 17.03. That is, the Wild did a great job of creating quality shots while Suter was on the ice.

    [caption id=attachment_49082" align="alignnone" width="1998]suter-3.png via Sean Tierney, @ChartingHockey[/caption]

    You could certainly make the argument that Suter benefitted from playing alongside Spurgeon and Dumba this season, which no doubt helped him early on as he worked his way back into the lineup from the injury.

    By most metrics outside of Evolving Hockey's WAR (Wins Above Replacement), Suter had a standard season. Which again, coming off a serious injury in which it was questioned if he could potentially hit the ice again, seemed impossible when the season opened. His 47 points at the end of the year were the second-highest total he has placed with the Wild since signing in 2012.

    [caption id=attachment_49172" align="alignnone" width="1566]Evolving-Hockey.png courtesy Evolving-Hockey.com[/caption]

    Although from the eye test, Suter may have looked to take a slight step back, but more of that could have been a result from this injury as he seemed to get more settled in as the season went along.

    All in all, Suter was Suter again this year. He was playing top minutes, racking up points, and hardly showed any signs of his injury from last March. Seemingly a good sign for a player that is signed through 2025. But the perception of Suter among some in the fan base is that he has lost a step.

    So how his season went certainly is up for you to decide. But statistically speaking, he certainly did alright.

    Stats in this post courtesy of Hockey-Reference, Natural Stat Trick and Evolving-Hockey.

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