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Ryan Suter is a Cap Liability

During the negotiations for a new CBA the owners were looking to create limits on the length of contracts so as to save their general managers from the recourse of “it seemed like a good idea at the time” signings. The offer sheet Holmgren offered Shea Weber comes to mind, but Roberto Luongo, Marian Hossa, Ilya Kovalchuk, Rick Dipietro and Alex Ovechkin all have head-scratcher contracts. The last blunder of the previous CBA, Ryan Suter’s 13 year 98,000,000 dollar contract.

This signing is a move that will haunt the Minnesota Wild for many years to come. Not by virtue of what Suter brings to the table. A 7.5 million dollar cap hit is just a bit much for a defensive specialist whose highest plus/minus is +20. That cap hit is second only to his former partner in Nashville, Shea Weber. Suter’s career high of 46 points makes it a little more palatable, until you remember that a large portion of those assists came by dishing the puck to Weber and letting his thunderous slap shot do the rest of the work.

Suter’s cap hit takes up more than 10% of Minnesota’s cap this season, but that number will rise to nearly 12% next season when the cap drops to 64 million. That’s an awful big chunk of the cap for anybody, but for Ryan Suter it’s bordering on ludicrous.

Where this contract will hurt the Wild most is when they have to resign the many blue chip prospects starting to make their way into the NHL. By the time some of them develop into full time contributors, who knows how many they will actually be able to keep. It will also hinder the Wild’s ability to add valuable depth pieces in free agency.

This is far from a knock on Suter’s ability. I think he is at the very least in the top 15 defensemen in the NHL. He is an intelligent, physical and reliable defender. Just not one that is worth 98,000,000 over 13 years. Even taking into account the fact that you almost always overpay in free agency.

You can follow J.D. Burke for more hockey commentary, stats, tweets, etc. @WeveGotTwins and find his blog at


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