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Poll: Does Ryan Suter play too much?

Aug 13, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT

Ryan Suter Getty Images

Besides goalies, no NHLer spent more time on the ice last season than Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter. And that has many wondering about the effects of fatigue on the 29-year-old’s performance.

Suter played all 82 games for the Wild in 2013-14, averaging a league-high 29:24 of ice time per contest. Add it up and he skated almost 200 more minutes than the second-most-deployed skater, Erik Karlsson, did for the Ottawa Senators.

And that was just the regular season. Suter also averaged almost 30 minutes in 13 playoff games.

“He’s such an effortless player,” Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said in defense of Suter’s ice time, per “He’s not a physical player and he’s not necessarily a player who’s leading the rush offensively. He defends really well, he moves the puck really well. He’s such an intelligent, intuitive player. He knows where to go and doesn’t waste a lot of energy flailing around the ice.”

There’s also the matter of Minnesota’s blue line, which, to put it nicely, isn’t among the deepest in the NHL. (Related story: the Wild would love for Matthew Dumba to earn a spot this year.) For coach Mike Yeo, sending Suter over the boards is the easy, stress-free decision.

But the difference now compared to when Suter joined the Wild a couple of years ago is that Minnesota has increased Stanley Cup aspirations. Simply making the playoffs isn’t good enough anymore; the objective is a deep run. And the deeper the run, the more fatigue becomes a factor, particularly for No. 1 defensemen. Remember all the talk of Chris Pronger tiring out in 2010? And Zdeno Chara in 2013? Are the Wild pushing their luck with Suter, who turns 30 in January?

OK, time to vote:

  1. jacketsfan7 - Aug 13, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    Consuela says no
    I say yes
    Give Brodin more ice

  2. wutangwild - Aug 13, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    Can he play that much? Yes. Should he? Probably not. He is able to play that much because he plays a very smooth style and is as solid as they come. It’s easy to forget that last year 3 of our top 4 D-men were 24 years and under, yet we still were 7th in GAA with a crazy carousel of goalies. I expect the young guys to step up into a bigger role, and hopefully Jonas reverts to his rookie form. Give more time to Brodin, Scandella and the Spurgeon General. I’m still baffled that the Ducks gave Stoner that much money, but hey good for him.

  3. illogic87 - Aug 13, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    After 2012-2013 season I would have said yes. After last year, he played a ton in the regular season and post season and performed at a high level the whole time. I think as he gets older it might become a problem though.

    • clarke16 - Aug 13, 2014 at 3:18 PM

      Wrong. I’m not sure what you’re watching but Suter’s play was clearly on the decline the last week or so of the reg season and throughout both rounds of the playoffs. Fatigue is the only real explanation as he wasn’t injured.

      • illogic87 - Aug 14, 2014 at 8:15 AM

        No, not wrong. His play declined when he got checked by Hossa and hurt his shoulder. Up to that point he was phenomenal defensively and positionally

  4. penguins87and71 - Aug 13, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    I would say he plays way to much, what he plays like half a game, that’s insane!

  5. btlpper68 - Aug 13, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    Well they didn’t give him 120 million to be average, prob use him to much but to win you lean on your best players

    • rsmaggiemae - Aug 13, 2014 at 3:59 PM

      he didnt get 120 mil only 114 mil

  6. billiam55 - Aug 13, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    dam. more than mcdonagh.

  7. mb30forlife - Aug 13, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    Only on back to back shifts like even strength to the penalty kill…. Cant put a tired guy out there on the PK with out a time out

  8. purpleguy - Aug 13, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    As the young players improve, he’ll get more rest. Then again, if Ballard gets a ton of minutes, I reserve the right to backtrack from my first statement.

  9. guitarhunterdude - Aug 13, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    He definitely plays too much, and it shows in the underlying numbers. I think he’ll be a little less passive (and quite a bit more effective) if he’s limited to something like 25 or 26 minutes a game. Spurgeon and Scandella are good enough to merit more ice time, too.

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