Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ryan Suter: Minnesota's Iron Man

Check back tomorrow, where we compare Jonas Brodin to Pepper Potts.
Since his arrival in the NHL, Ryan Suter has become one of the more well-conditioned players in the league. He built that reputation up with the Nashville Predators, and it has become very front and center now with the Minnesota Wild.

Since Suter's arrival in Minnesota, he has averaged close to 28 minutes of time on ice (TOI) per game. Definitely something you want to see from someone you are paying an annual cap hit of $7.5 million for the next 12 seasons.

Here is a breakdown of Suter's ATOI per game since the 2006-07 season:

2006-07: 20:22
2007-08: 20:34
2008-09: 24:15
2009-10: 23:58
2010-11: 25:12
2011-12: 26:30
2012-13: 27:16*
2013-14: 29:22*
*denotes 1st in NHL

Since Suter arrived in Minnesota he has made it a regular feature night after night to be on the ice for at least half the game. Last season, Suter posted 10 games with 30+ minutes of ice time. Three out of the five playoff games against Chicago he had more than 30 minutes, including the 41 minute effort in the Game 1 double overtime loss.

Now flip the page to this year, and Suter has increased his nightly output. He has eight games (the team has played 19) of 30+ minutes. His TOI leads the league by nearly two minutes over Dennis Wideman of Calgary (27:33), and the team by almost five minutes over his defensive partner Jonas Brodin (24:30).

Impressed yet? Good. Because this is the most impressive line yet.

In the past two games against Washington and Carolina (on the road mind you), Suter is averaging over 35 minutes of ice time. Yes, you read that right. 35 minutes. He had 36:51 in the shootout loss at Washington, then followed it up with 35:28 in the shootout win at Carolina.

Some of this can be attributed to the banged up Wild defensive core (Keith Ballard and Clayton Stoner have suffered injuries on this trip) and the fact youngster Matt Dumba seems to become more of a spectator in the third period. Add that up, and you get five more minutes of ice time for Ryan Suter.

Obviously, he will not continue to play 35 minutes a night. You can get those type of minutes in crucial games, but dont expect him to be out there like that all the time. He will run out of gas by the time the postseason rolls around. Expect an average at the end of the season around 28:30 or so.

The only defenseman the Wild ever had who you would expect to put up 27-28 minutes per game was Brent Burns. Now, Ryan Suter has walked in here and made 27-28 minutes look like an easy night.

Do you expect anything less from Minnesota's Iron Man?

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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