Ryan Suter’s heavy workload isn’t a new story in Minnesota — heck, we wrote about it in August — but this past week, the narrative popped up again when former Wild blueliner Clayton Stoner ripped head coach Mike Yeo’s ice time distribution, telling the O.C. Register Suter gets “all the minutes” while the rest of the defensemen “suffer.”
“I don’t have any comment on it,” the head coach said, per the Star-Tribune. “I don’t think that Suts played 59 minutes of every game.”
More, from the Pioneer Press:
Stoner’s remarks are interesting considering the Wild’s recent struggles have mirrored Suter’s struggles.
Suter, widely regarded as one of the best defenseman in the NHL, entered Tuesday’s game against San Jose with an uncharacteristic minus-13 rating in his past 15 games.
Recently, Suter seems to have gotten himself into trouble by trying to single-handedly pull the Wild out of their skid.
“The last couple weeks, that’s what I was thinking,” Suter said.
Stoner’s remarks couldn’t come at a worse time for Yeo and the Wild. The head coach is under fire, and his team looks listless; after moving to 16-11-1 win a win over Arizona on Dec. 13, the Wild have gone 2-4-3 and head into tonight’s game against San Jose smarting from Saturday’s 7-1 shellacking in Dallas… and in 11th place in the Western Conference, seven points out of the final wild card spot.
The Suter angle is a tough one. If there is a critique of Yeo here, it’s that he’s already maxed out his top defender and can’t really increase the minutes (Suter’s averaging a career-high 29:29 per game this season.) The counter to that, of course, is that Yeo’s been forced to play Suter this much because the Wild don’t have enough depth on defense — something GM Chuck Fletcher alluded to when asked if his team would make any moves at the deadline.
“If we can get our game going, then certainly we’ll look to upgrade anywhere we can,” Fletcher said. “We can certainly use more depth upfront, more depth on defense.
“We’re a pretty young team so maybe adding a veteran player would be a good thing.”