by PuckStopsHere on 01/22/14 at 01:28 AM ET
Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild significantly leads the NHL in ice team this season. He has played 29:33 per game this season. This is more than a minute and a half than second place Brian Campbell of Florida. Over the course of the season he has played almost 140 minutes more than any other player in the league. This makes Suter a valuable player to the Wild. They don't have any other top level defencemen to play. Suter's usual linemate Jonas Brodin is almost five minutes behind him per game. Jared Spurgeon and Marco Scandella are closer to ten minutes behind him.
Suter led the NHL in ice time last year and he is up by well over two minutes a game from that pace. One question is whether or not this is a good strategy for the Wild. Will Suter run out of gap before or during the playoffs? Will he be beaten by players who have been rested down the stretch?
We are in uncharted waters projecting on Suter's ice time and its effect on his game. The last time a player finished a season with more ice time per game it was Chris Pronger in 1999/2000. Pronger won the Hart Trophy that year. He was also eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. Since then the NHL has got faster. The new divisional alignment has increased travel for players. It is harder to play that level of ice time today. Ryan Suter is doing it and I am interested in how it will work out.
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