In a surprising move, Ryan Suter has agreed to terms on a 13-year, $98 million contract with the Minnesota Wild.
Suter has spent his entire NHL career with the Nashville Predators, the team that drafted him in 2003 as part of what may be one of the strongest draft classes ever. Aside from a 2004-05 stint with the AHL Milwaukee Admirals, he’s always been in Tennessee.
This past season, he had career highs in terms of points with 46. He also spent about 26 minutes per game on the ice, third highest among all defensemen in the league, and went to the 2012 All-Star Game. Overall, he had seven goals and 39 assists in 79 games, plus 30 penalty minutes, and a goal and three assists with four penalty minutes in Nashville’s 2012 playoff run.
In 2010, he also followed in his father Bob’s footsteps by representing America in the Olympics–although unlike his dad, who played in the 1980 Olympics, he didn’t have to face down a strong Soviet team, and also unlike his dad, he won silver.
He’s worn the A for Nashville and reportedly has such an influence over the team that last year, he suggested they make trades in the offseason to improve their chances of deep playoff runs. That suggestion resulted in trades for Paul Gaustad, Andrei Kostitsyn and Hal Gill.
Minnesota may be an ideal choice for Suter, whose wife is from the area and whose father does a lot of work in the youth hockey community.
In an even more surprising move, perhaps, the Wild are working hard to try to get Zach Parise as well. They’re angling to get him on a 13-year deal as well and bring two big stars to the State of Hockey. More to come…