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Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

WWYDW(TE): How about Ryan Suter?

Things got really Wild today in Minnesota.

After yesterday’s huge trade between the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks, the Wild kept the ball rolling with a huge move of their own, buying out the final four seasons of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise’s identical 13-year contracts.

This move will open up cap room for the Wild to re-sign Calder Trophy winner Kirill Kaprizov while also giving them the flexibility to possibly make a big splash either via trade or free agency. Another key here is that getting rid of Suter, who had a no-movement clause on his deal, will allow the Wild to protect Matt Dumba from the Seattle Kraken in the Expansion Draft.

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Now, I won’t lie to you, it’s pretty funny that a veteran defender like Suter is now on the open market immediately after Ken Holland opted to trade a couple of assets to acquire Duncan Keith without having any of his salary retained. Regardless, the Keith deal happened and Suter is now a free agent.

That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday TUESDAY EDITION question. Should Holland have any interest in adding Suter to the blueline? Does adding Keith solidify the left side, or is there still work to be done given the fact Oscar Klefbom’s status for the 2021-22 season is up in the air?

As of right now, here’s what Edmonton’s blueline looks like for 2021-22…

Darnell NurseEthan Bear

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Duncan KeithAdam Larsson?

Kris RussellEvan Bouchard

William LagessonSlater Koekkoek?

As we know, Larsson hasn’t yet re-signed and there’s no guarantee that he will. Also, the Seattle Kraken could opt to select Lagesson in the upcoming Expansion Draft. Klefbom also may or may not be ready to go come October, though it’s looking as though he won’t. There are a few balls in the air here.

So, what about Suter?

He turned 36 years old in January and is coming off of a season in which he scored three goals and 19 points over 56 games while logging 22:11 per night. He was in the red in terms of shot attempt differential at even-strength, 973-to-892, but was a positive in terms of goal differential at 56-to-48.

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His role was playing as the shutdown guy next to Jared Spurgeon on one of Minnesota’s top defensive pairings. The Wild had four defenders all average around 22 minutes per game, with one more offensively oriented guy (Spurgeon, Dumba) playing alongside more of a shutdown guy (Suter, Jonas Brodin).

With Keith and Suter you have two players in fairly opposite situations. I would venture that Keith’s game will improve when playing fewer minutes than the 23:35 he played per game last season on a bad team while Suter’s game could decline when not playing with a very good partner in Spurgeon. That said, everything points to Suter still being a solid top-four defender at this stage.

In my mind, the ideal role for Keith is playing alongside Evan Bouchard on Edmonton’s third pairing. Keith played last season with a pair of young defenders in Ian Mitchell and Adam Boqvist and will surely be a quality mentor for Bouchard. If Keith plays on Edmonton’s second pair with Larsson, assuming he’s re-signed, that would leave Bouchard playing with Kris Russell or William Lagesson, which isn’t exactly ideal. Suter would be a better fit for the second-pairing shutdown role, which would then bump Keith into the place where he fits best.

What say you, Nation? How do we feel about this Suter buyout? Is this another veteran defender Holland should be interested in acquiring? Where does Keith fit on the depth chart? Is the left side solidified already? Let us know!


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