A recent comment caught my attention regarding Suter and his play on the power play.
The fact is, Suter hasn’t been a particularly great power play quarterback in his career with Minnesota.
Ryan Suter’s PP Production
Ryan Suter’s total time on ice since 2012-13 with the man-advantage dwarfs the next player by almost two-fold. With 1040 minutes, Suter has accumulated 56 points, which leads the team for defensemen. And for having that many minutes, you’d assume that he should be the top producing defensemen.
Digging a little further, Suter has a total of 8 goals and 48 assists; 30 of those points are of the primary point variety. Primary points are goals in which he was either the goal scorer or awarded the primary assist, which generally means he was a major factor in the goal being scored. All things being equal in rate stats, Ryan Suter has a points per 60 minutes of power play time of 3.23.
All sounds good except when you stack his production with his significant lead in time-on-ice to the rest of the Wild defensemen.
Lack of Shooting
Suter’s issues stem from having a healthy number of his shots blocked. You can probably imagine Suter receiving the puck along the blue line. With pressure coming from a penalty killer, Suter would skate towards the near boards in an attempt to change the angle and let go a wrist shot the would be easily blocked. This scenario seemed to play out multiple times, not just in a season, but sometimes in a game. the wrist shots were weak at best, and any of his shots from the point lacked purpose.
Stats actually back up this fact that Suter’s shot is blocked...a lot. The 2013 Norris Trophy finalist has 343 attempted shots on the PP, with 143 of those getting blocked which totals nearly 42 percent. But you say, "Still over half his shots are getting through!" And you’d be right, but only means that nearly 41 percent of his attempted shots are ending up on goal, which is by far lowest of any Wild defensemen that played the power play since 2012-13.
In a time of the game when the team should be peppering the net, Suter is failing at getting the puck on goal.
Power Play Responsibility
Suter isn’t getting the puck on goal with frequency, and his primary assist numbers are nothing to write home about. So does his role on the power play affect his numbers? Role most certainly does affects stats, but how can we define what the former Wisconsin Badger’s role on the power play?
Suter is clearly more of a facilitator in this example. By being an option for the wingers to pass after they retrieved the puck, Suter then rotates the puck over to the right to Marco Scandella. As soon as the pass misses, the puck is retrieved again, and Suter is clearly in the point position of the power play umbrella. Again, he continues to rotate the puck over the Scandella, who takes a shot on goal.
Ryan Suter is a talented player no doubt, but his game just isn’t suited for the power play, let alone 1:30 of a two minute minor. He is unable to get his shot to the net, and isn’t making up for it by setting up his teammates by any substantial margin.
That said, Suter is a vital member of this team. The defense wouldn't be an organizational strength that it is without him a part of it. He's consistent and keeps himself healthy as an ox, aside from the Mumps a few seasons back. The thing is, we don't know own what the Wild would be like if they lost him to injury for an extended period of time. The Wild has been lucky to have such a workhorse.
But a power play defenseman he is not. With Suter's minutes reaching near 30 minutes per game, limiting his minutes with the man-advantage is not just an opportune time to reduce his minutes; it's an area he clearly is being surpassed by his defensive teammates.
So while there are thise that think its funny that Suter is ridiculed in comment sections on blogs or on the Star Tribune, I just have to laugh because "higher hockey circles" haven’t noticed that Suter on the power play is an issue.
All stats courtesy of Corsica.Hockey