One of the most reliable defensemen in recent history, Suter led the league while setting a new career best with a plus-34 rating this past season. Perhaps less is more for the 32-year-old, who averaged 26:55 of ice time per game, his lowest mark since joining the Wild, but still tallied yet another 40-point season -- a notable drop from his 51 in 2015-16, but that assist-heavy total was out of line with his typical production. Intensely consistent and durable, Suter has played a full schedule in four of his past five seasons, but it’s also become apparent that he needs some help if the Wild want to snap out of their playoff slump. Still in the midst of his lengthy prime, the Wisconsin native should be in for another typically excellent season as the Wild’s top blueliner, though he’s not quite as elite in fantasy as he is in real life.
Suter’s a pillar on the Minnesota blue line, but for fantasy purposes, he’s typically been a reliable and unspectacular performer. It took only a little spike in assists, though, to push his point total over 50 for the first time last year, and he put up 21 of those on the power play. There are reasons to be optimistic about a repeat – Suter’s always enjoyed big minutes on the man advantage (and in every other situation), and he took a career-high 188 shots on goal last year, reflecting increased offensive involvement. He’s also an ultra-reliable source of positive rating, and if your league happens to count ice time and blocked shots, he’s a superstar.
When it comes to workhorses, other than maybe the Kings’ Drew Doughty, no one can match Suter’s ice time and the steady hand he provides to an otherwise youthful Wild blue line. Logging a league-high 29:04 of ice time per game last season -- a figure that’s somehow not the highest of his career -- Suter played nearly half of every game, working on the power play, killing penalties, and serving as an alternate captain. From an offensive standpoint, Suter scored only two goals but added 36 assists, which was tied for the team lead with Jason Pominville. While he may not find the net very often or even look for his own shot, Suter's high assist totals and heavy ice time make him a sure bet to find himself among the first or second wave of defensemen drafted.
Suter is an elite defenseman, but his production is quieter than most other big guns on the back end. His best total points output for a season to date is in the mid-40s. He's never scored 10 goals a season and maybe never will. But he led the NHL in ice time (29:25) for the second-straight year -- that's more than two minutes more than the second-place finisher, Ottawa's Erik Karlsson. Suter also posted a solid plus-15 rating, eight goals and 35 assists to finish 18th in scoring among blue liners. If ever there were a time Suter might come close to that coveted 50-point plateau, it would be in 2014-15, particularly with talented forwards like Zach Parise, Jason Pominvile, Mikko Koivu and Thomas Vanek surrounding him on the top power-play unit. That kind of production would elevate him into the NHL's top-10 from the back end. Draft accordingly, as there’s still might be some upside to be had.
Suter's first season in Minnesota was a success as he was runner-up for the Norris Trophy and finished third among defensemen with 32 points. Part of his success may have come from leading the NHL in average ice time (27:16). He also developed a good rapport with rookie Jonas Brodin on the Wild's top pairing that can only help improve his efficiency as Brodin becomes even stronger. Suter will get heavy time on the power play again and should remain a top defenseman in most leagues.
Along with Zach Parise, Suter opted to leave the only NHL home he’d ever known and head to the Twin Cities, signing the same 13-year, $98-million contract that Parise did with the Wild. Suter had been remarkably consistent during his time with Nashville, averaging 41.5 points the last four season while cracking 45 points twice. The dominant question surrounding Suter will be how he will fare without Shea Weber on the ice. Suter is not a shooter and will be counted on to run Minnesota’s power play. Much like Parise, Suter has skills on the ice that do not translate into statistics. He’s a solid point producer, but won’t get you many goals and he should not be the focal point of your team’s defense.
Paired with team captain Shea Weber for most of last season, Suter chipped in admirably on the offensive front with 39 points (4G, 35A) and would have challenged his career high of 45 points if not for a leg injury that caused him to miss 12 regular season games. Suter also led the team in the plus-minus category with a +20 rating, largely the result of rock-solid play in his own end, something that is rapidly becoming Suter's number one strength. This season, look for Suter to reprise his role as one of the Preds' top two blueliners. Additionally, he is set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season, and stands to earn a significant raise on his current four-year, $14 million contract. Whether he re-ups with the Preds or tests the free agent waters next summer still remains to be seen.
Compared to 2008-09, Suter's numbers dipped a bit last season, but he was still a serviceable fantasy option as a key member of the Predators' blue line. He also showcased his play-making talents by representing Team USA in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. You might not think of him as a consistent player from week-to-week, but year-to year, his numbers consistently fall near the 35-point range.
Suter was an assist machine last season, tallying 38 of them, 15 of those on the power play. However, his plus/minus took a nose dive, going from a plus-3 in 2007-2008 to a minus-15 in 2008-2009. Approaching the prime year of his career, Suter is a pretty high scoring defenseman, and while he won't bring you that many goals, if he can fix his plus/minus issues this season he could be a tremendous fantasy player.
This season Suter will evolve from one of the young Nashville blueliners to one of the veterans in the defense corps. In his second full NHL season with the Predators last year, Suter showed some improvement and became a steady offensive contributor. He posted seven goals and 24 assists in 76 games and became the Predators' second-highest scoring blueliner behind Marek Zidlicky. With Zidlicky now gone to Minnesota, we expect Suter to raise the bar another notch higher in the upcoming season. More power-play time is on tap for this young defenseman and he should respond well with a 40-point campaign.
Suter may not get the attention that fellow blueliners Marek Zidlicky and Shea Weber receive, but he's just as talented. Suter racked up eight goals and 16 assists in just his second full season on the NHL level last year. He should see his role and ice time increase in 2007-08 and we expect him to raise the bar offensively as well. We expect Suter to reach the 30-point plateau this season.
Suter played 71 games last season in his first NHL experience with the Predators. He showed some offensive flare at times and will be relied on this season in the Predators' young defense corps. Suter will have some fantasy value in deeper leagues.
Suter's bloodlines are impeccable -- his uncle Gary won the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year to kick off a 17-year career, and his father Bob played on the 'Miracle on Ice' US Olympic squad. Ryan should end up doing both of them proud, as he's already distinguished himself in international hockey and should be threatening to crack his first NHL lineup by the age of 21. The sky is quite literally the limit with this kid.