Ryan Suter is on his way to the Dallas Stars.
The team announced on Wednesday that it has signed the veteran defender to a four-year, $14.6 million contract ($3.65M cap hit per season).
Suter became a free agent earlier this offseason after the Wild bought out the remainder of both his and Zach Parise’s matching 13-year contracts.
While Parise’s buyout was somewhat expected, Suter’s was far more shocking and took everybody (especially Suter) by surprise. At 36 he is clearly not going to be the elite player he was in his prime, but he should still be a quality defender in the short-term for a Stars team that already has two top-pairing defenders on its roster in Miro Heiskanen and John Klingberg. Suter probably is not a No. 1 defender any longer, and the Stars do not need him to be.
[Related: Every free agent signing by all 32 NHL teams]
Still, a four-year term for a 36 (and soon to be 37) defender does carry some risk down the road a little. In the short-term, though, hard to argue that Suter does not add improve an already good blue line. He figures to help fill the void that was left by Jamie Oleksiak joining the expansion Kraken.
The Holtby signing is fascinating because the team already has Anton Khudobin, Ben Bishop, and Jake Oettinger under contract for this season. Bishop will begin the season on long-term injured reserve.
Wild replace Suter with Goligoski
While Suter makes the jump from Minnesota to Dallas, the Wild filled his spot on their blue line by signing veteran defenseman Alex Goligoski to a one-year, $5 million contract.
Goligoski has spent the past five seasons with the Coyotes and remains a solid veteran defender that can still chip in some offense.
The Wild are somewhat limited on what they can do in free agency right now long-term and need to focus on short-term contracts because of their future salary cap situation. The buyouts of Suter and Parise are going to create between $12-15 million in empty cap space between 2022 and 2025 so they really need to keep things short-term to maintain any salary cap flexibility in the future.