Pay Him: The Case for Ryan Suter

It has recently come to my attention that not everyone is as thrilled with the idea of the Wings offering Suter enough money to feed a third world country as I am. Chris makes a compelling case, for sure, but I think he and those who agree with him are missing a few points here. I’m up against a lawyer, but while working in a retirement home I saw a TON of Law and Order so I think I can hold my own.

Jump for my Pro-Suter argument:

The prosecution seems to believe that Suter isn’t all that great of an offensive defenseman. They cite an aging Brian Rafalski’s superior stats as proof. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, please direct your attention to the following video.

As you can see, when the chips are down, Suter has the will and, more importantly, the skill to make plays in the offensive zone. Bieksa is a big dude and Suter out-muscled him for the puck. Plays like that are what tie playoff games up in the final minute.

Still not convinced? Take a look at another example of Suter putting the puck in the net.

In that video, Weber has a shooting lane for a second, but it’s closed up quickly. His next option is Suter who one-times his shot perfectly into the net.

Now that you’ve seen him score, I’m sure you’re thinking something like, “Yeah, but Weber is better.” And to that I say “Who cares?” Suter is the UFA and Weber is the A-hole.  Suter tallied 46 points this season while Weber picked up 49. A difference of 3 points. Now, was Weber scoring all of his points because of great passes by Suter or was Suter getting assist because he was playing with Weber? Honestly, I think both of them will have a slight drop in production if they’re separated, but Suter is still the best option available.


There is the concern that the Wings could overpay for Suter and that will probably happen. But if the Wings don’t, someone else will. Which means someone else will get his 40+ points and solid defensive play. So what if the Wings might save a few million if they sign a journeyman instead? What good is extra cap space when you don’t do anything with it? Would you rather see the Wings go deep in the playoffs with enough cap space left to buy a can of Faygo? Or would you be content to see them finish 6th or 7th and hope for a Kings-esque miracle run on the back of an insanely hot goalie? Spend, Kenny, spend.

faygoI’ll take 2, please. What? They cost 35 cents each? Damn. Just one then.

The fact of the matter is, we have 5 NHL D-men under contract at this moment. Kronwall, Ericsson, White, Kindl and Smith. This means the Wings MUST sign at least two more. Why not Suter? Why not sign the best guy available? Aside from having few D-men under contract, you’ll also notice that most of them are not that great. We have 4 guys who should be on the bottom pairing. We need help on the blueline. Why not sign the best guy available?

Finally, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, are we all hypocrites? I feel like we’re all hypocrites. How can we say that Lidstrom is the best defenseman of all time despite the fact that a few others have more points and higher +/- yet say that Suter is not worth a giant salary when he’s as close to Lidstrom as we’ll see for a long time? We know Nick was the best because of all the little things that he did. Head up whiling shooting. Poke-checking guys into madness. Skillfully playing the body when needed, yet only taking a few minor penalties all year. I just described Nick Lidstrom, but the fact is, Suter plays the same style. Ryan Suter is Nashville’s best player. They just don’t know it yet. Just like I didn’t know that Nick was ours until he won the Conn Smythe. He’s the best defenseman available. Why not sign him?

The defense rests.

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