Potential UFA target: Ryan Suter

The Rangers top four defensemen are certainly the envy of the conference and most likely won’t change before the season opener. With that said, there is always a chance Sather makes a move for a Nash, or Bobby Ryan, etc. If such a trade were to be made, one of those four would likely have to head in the other direction. It’s not a move I would make, but it is still within the realm of possibility.

The fallout of said trade would require additional moves or signings, which leads us to UFA Ryan Suter. The 27 year old offensive defensemen is coming off a 4 year, $14m deal ($3.5m cap hit) and is taking his first crack at unrestricted free agency. Whether or not the Rangers would make an offer he can’t refuse remains to be seen, but as providers of opinions and analysis we’ll happily do our due diligence.


Suter entered the league following the lockout in 2005-06 and put up 1g and 16pts in 71 games. Since that time he has scored between 4-7 goals and 30-45 pts per season. Not too shabby. What separates Suter from other available defensemen are his wheels.¬†Suter is very mobile and could conceivably fit perfectly into the Blueshirt’s aggressive system.

Torts requires all of his defensemen to be strong skaters, as they are needed to join the rush, frequently pinch, and backcheck like hell when their defensive partner goes in on the forecheck. It’s kind of why the Mara’s, McCabe’s, and Rozi’s never quite panned out. Suter wouldn’t have that issue.

From an advanced stat perspective, Suter’s corsi numbers (which measure puck possession based on shot attempts) are all strong, despite having sub 50% offensive zone starts (faceoffs only) and facing top competition. These numbers aren’t the be all and end all, but they certainly don’t jive with observational analysis.


It’s not a fault in his game, but he is a pass first defensemen and not the bomber from the point we’d all prefer. Weber is that guy and was clearly the d-man who was fed on Nashville’s blueline. Point in case, Weber had 143 shots on net last season, 72 of them slap shots, while Suter had 85 shots and only 22 slappers.

In my opinion, the Rangers don’t need any more pass first players, not on offense, and certainly not on defense. Our team has shown the ability to create scoring chances. Our lack of converting those chances is the real problem. I don’t think Suter helps us in that regard.


The top offensive defensemen in this league, who were signed during unrestricted free agency, make north of $5m per season. I doubt Suter’s contract will be much different, so long as it’s not one of those decade+ contracts.

Keep in mind, as a 23 year old Suter scored 7 goals and 31 points in his third season in the NHL. Michael Del Zotto just scored 10 goals and 41 points in his third season in the league at the ripe old age of 21. Tell me again why people refer to him as Del Zaster? Yeah, thought so. The fact of the matter is MDZ scored roughly the same amount of points as Suter and will likely do the same next season for a fraction of the cost.

The Final Word:

Everything out of the media suggests that Suter will ultimately end up in Detroit to fill the skates of the recently retired Lidstrom and Rafalski. Minnesota is also supposedly looking to spend money on the blueline this summer and of course he could always return to Nashville. Either way, rumors are swirling that he’s looking to stay in the Western Conference.

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  • Suter is an incredible all-around d-man. He will eat-up first d-pair minutes for many years… for whatever teams signs him. That being said, I just don’t think he is the right d-man at the right time for this team. I believe that we already have 3 top pair d-men, with one (McD) on the way to being in the elite category. The problem is that none of them are that top offensive guy who can run a PP and (as Suit said) shoot bombs from the point. This team needs SCORING and Suter is most likely not going to significantly help with that. In order to get that scoring, we will most likely have to bring in some major salary to do so, which means that also committing $5M+ to Suter is just not feasible, especially with several of our young players reaching RFA status after this coming season. The guy we need and Sather has eye on is MOST DEFINITELY Shea Weber. He is in full blown salivation mode on the possibility of getting a player like that… there is no doubt. The next month is going to be interesting.

    • Shea Weber would no doubt fit in nicely within our team concept and would certainly help solve some of our PP woes. The problem is David Poile (Nashville’s GM) is probably going to lose Suter to free agency.

      I doubt he’d look to move Weber, arguably the cornerstone of his franchise, the same summer he loses Suter. Tough to sell blowing up the roster to their fanbase after being on the cusp of doing great things.

  • I’ll tell you why people call him Del Zaster, because he is delzasterous in the neutral zone. Time after time he’s caught standing there flatfooted swinging his pocketbook, like Carol Vadnais, as opposing forwards go flying by him!

  • I am curious as how youse create value for players in a trade. Say we want to trade Staal, or Girardi, or Stepan, or Callahan, or McDonagh….What would be considered a a fair return for one of these players? It boggles my mind how the Ranger nation fans so under value our own players….pathetic

      • All these trade talks about players coming to the Rangers from other teams..the value is not there when I look at what is going the other way. Say we were in a place where other teams were looking to shore up for the playoffs. So pick a team…calls Sather and inquires about Staal..Why would Staal not reign in a ransom…instead of how Staal is being packaged for a say Ryan

        • Staal would indeed be used in a package for Ryan, because it is all about what is harder to find. For example, is it harder to find:

          a) a young defensive shutdown d-man with an affordable cap hit


          b) a young power forward who has scored 30 goals in each of his first 4 seasons… with an affordable cap hit

          The answer is (b)… by a mile. Teams can randomly pick up free agents that magically turn into shutdown defensive guys (i.e. Salvadore, Hamrlik), but the chances of picking up a player like Ryan are extremely rare. Hence why Staal would be in a package for Ryan and not the other way around. Goals win hockey games.

    • I actually disagree incredibly with you, Leather. Most Ranger fans heavily OVERVALUE our players… so much so that they think our trash equals other team’s gold.

      That being said, the players that you mention all would fetch a fine return. Staal, Girardi, and Callahan are held in high regard around the league and would each fetch a good roster player, a top prospect, and a 1st (not in the top 10 picks). Stepan would probably yield 2 of the three pieces, only because his potential has not been met yet, and his playoff contributions have been spotty. I would interested to see what other opinions out there are on this. I am just shooting from the hip on this based on trades that have occurred recently.

      In reality, none of us know EXACTLY what each player is worth, but for those of us who have been fans for awhile and know the league inside and out, we definitely can spot a trade that wouldn’t work or not make any sense.

      • I have been a Ranger fan since the early 70’s and have watched all our gems be dealt away. Rick Middleton anyone? add to that many years of poor drafting…Lucien Deblois over bossy anyone? Nod drafting Langway…anyone? to the more recent debacles like Montoya, Brendel, Brown, Jessiman, Cherneski and trading Amonte and Weight. So here we are now finally doing it the right way and people are still not satisfied. A staal is just as hard to find as a Ryan. In fact a one for one of Staal for Ryan is a fair deal. The other point that has to be made is we select players via the draft they must be given an opportunity to play for us first.

        Lets not forget Zubov, Nordstrom, Marc Savard. Dubinsky whom everyone is sour on as well as Del Zotto need to be given one more year to properly evaluate what we have in them. When you look at all the dynasties to include New Jersey and Detroit they did it mostly via the draft and a system. We are on the same pace and road map as them in building an identity and system that will net us several cups over a 1994 push that made us one and done

          • not gonna argue that…it did result in a cup…but that was the mold of the Lightning, Canes mold….I prefer the Detroit mold

        • There is a reason why the top defensive d-man are only paid around $4M a year and Ryan is already paid $5M after year four. They are close in value, but I doubt it would be an even trade.

          BTW- I hear you on MDZ, but how many more years of Dubinsky do we need to see??? Lol.

  • Just reading all this, tells me we should stay the course.

    Unless we can pick up something via waivers/ UFA we really shouldn’t be dealing….unless of course there is an RFA we would part ways with our picks for….cough cough Erik Karlsson. Would you part with a bunch of picks for him? I would.

    As to why we have the overvalue dilemma, its because we have depth. People will point to stats, but you have to remember to augment that because our system is not a high scoring system. (Rangers 11th GF for the season, slightly above average) And a LOT of our players would prosper on other teams and play a line up higher than they are here. Cally a first liner, on 40% of the other clubs in the league he would. DelZotto on the first d pair, maybe 80% of the clubs….+20, 40 pts….18th in the league in scoring, 12th in plus minus, people need to stop undervaluing our players before they look at the stats.

  • In all this discussion of defenseman, there seems to be little mention of right and left defenseman. If Sauer doesn’t come back, the Rangers seem to be weak at Right Defense. Del Zotto was much more effective this year playing with Sauer and Stralman than he was playing with Staal. Maybe MDZ can learn the position (opinion?) or maybe the Rangers really need a new right dman like Suter. [I thought it odd that the kid MDZ went to the right instead of the veteran Staal.]

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