Skip to main content

Ryan Suter, the 2008-9 Forechecker's Forecast

One of the questions that Nashville Predators fans worried over earlier this summer was whether the team would be able to retain both Ryan Suter and Shea Weber, the two high-profile restricted free agents due for major pay increases. Now that he's locked up for four more seasons at $3.5 million per, the focus shifts to how much of a step forward Suter will take as he shakes off the young rookie label and fills a key role on the Predators blue line.

Ryan Suter, Nashville PredatorsSuter enters his 4th NHL season as a potent offensive threatPhoto courtesy of Paul Nicholson

Over the course of three seasons, Suter has steadily progressed into a solid two-way performer, and a key cog on the power play. He became much more aggressive offensively last season, firing 138 shots (compared to 87 the year before), presumably due to an increased opportunity working the point with the man advantage:

Ryan Suter Even Strength & Power Play Performance
TOI = Time On Ice, Pts/60 = Points per 60 Minutes of Play
PP Pts/60

Basically, Suter's been getting an extra shift per game at even strength each year, and has grown into a pivotal role on the power play. Shorthanded work is pretty consistent (just over 2:00 per game each season), and with guys like Hamhuis, De Vries, and Zanon around, Suter doesn't need to spend much time on the kill anyway.

In terms of offensive production, then, we have two avenues that might offer a boost over the 7 goal, 24 assist performance of last season. The first would be an increase in ice time; many of the top offensive D-men around the NHL get more than 4:30 of PP time per game, and with the departure of Marek Zidlicky via trade, it's possible that some additional time there could go to Suter. Even strength duty could also see a marginal uptick, particularly depending on how Ville Koistinen is used; if Barry Trotz feels the need to spare Koistinen EV duty and leverage him mostly on the power play, that creates additional opportunity for the 23 year-old Suter to soak up extra shifts. Even if both those options are utilized, however, we're looking at perhaps a 10% increase in overall production.

What then, about a significant increase in Suter's scoring rates? Frankly, I think there's little reason to believe that those figures will change much, as we've seen three full seasons of Suter now and have a decent idea of what he brings to the table; sound offensive instincts, an opportunistic eye for jumping up into the play, and a good shot from the point. We also have to remember that it's not like the cast around him is going to be more offensively oriented. My hunch is that with Radulov gone his EV production will tail off a bit, while the PP rate may rise slightly.

When it comes to the defensive side of the game (about time I addressed that, he IS a defenseman, after all), Suter's certainly more than capable; he's been on the positive side of the Plus/Minus stat during all three of his seasons, his penalty minute totals are reasonable, and his steady increase in ice time is a clear sign of support from Barry Trotz, who is hardly shy about holding a young player back if he's causing problems. The toughest matchups are generally reserved for Dan Hamhuis, so Suter is generally placed in a position to succeed. I expect that trend to continue, and for Suter to take another positive step forward in what is becoming a fine, productive NHL career.

So, for the official Forechecker's Forecast...

Forechecker's Forecast, 2008-9 NHL Regular Season
PlayerGPGAPtsShotsSht %
Ryan Suter75927361556

Popular posts from this blog

How I'm Trying To Make Money Sports Blogging

To kick off this series of articles general sports-blogging articles here at OTF Classic, I think it's best to start with a comment that Brad left here last week, after I shared my goals for 2012, which include specific revenue targets:
I considered diving into the world of internet marketing myself, but I felt that my friends would hate me for bugging them about stuff. I mean, it's pretty low-risk high-reward, so it's tempting. I wouldn't mind reading about tips on how to maximize impact of blogging in general to make it a legitimate income source. Trying to make money at sports blogging can be a very touchy subject - for the vast majority of us, this is an activity we pursue to both exercise our creativity and share our love of the game, whether it's hockey, football, badminton, whatever, with fellow fans. Mixing that personal conversation with a commercial message can turn people off, especially if it becomes too intrusive for the reader.

It's not unreasonabl…

Canadian Baloney, starring James Mirtle

A tireless refrain from the Canadian media is that Nashville is an absolute failure as a hockey market, and failing to move the team north of the border is an exercise in folly by the NHL.

Our latest exhibit comes from James Mirtle, usually one of the more thoughtful hockey bloggers extant:
But Nashville, quite simply, has proven it cannot sustain an NHL hockey team. Even with the lowest ticket prices in the entire league (I know: I've looked into flying there for a game or two) and a ridiculously forgiving arena lease, the team has had attendance issues despite having one of the best records in the league.

It's not a matter of Canadians not wanting teams in the southern U.S.; I've argued time and again in favour of teams like Dallas and Tampa Bay that have supported their teams and really brought something to the table in terms of bringing news fans and new energy to the game. That's a good thing.

The Predators, however, are not that, not in the beginning and certainly no…

Social Media, Internet Marketing, and Real, Paying Customers - it really works!

Applying the basic tenets of internet marketing (SEO best practices and social media network building) have helped me grow the readership and engagement over at On The Forecheck tremendously in recent years, but lately I've been wondering if those same techniques could be applied to small- or medium-sized local businesses, to help them drive real, tangible business results.

I'm talking about not just drawing idle hockey fans looking to a blog so they can muse over line combinations, but helping businesses connect with potential customers in ways that otherwise wouldn't occur. Recently, I was able to help make just such a thing happen, and it shows just how great the opportunities are for small, local businesses which may not have the resources or skills available to extend their brand effectively on the internet.