Playing for Minnesota for most of the past decade, defenseman Ryan Suter has plenty of experience going against division-rival Colorado’s explosive playmakers. He’s seen Nathan MacKinnon’s burst up close as well as Mikko Rantanen’s slapshot and Cale Makar’s stickhandling.
Now, after being bought out by the Wild, the prospect of playing behind the Avalanche stars — not against them — could be quite appealing.
The 36-year-old Suter, who played his first seven NHL seasons with the Predators and the past nine with the Wild, is interested in joining Colorado, sources have told The Athletic’s Michael Russo. Coming to Denver would give him a chance to play on a Stanley Cup contender after playing nearly 1,200 regular-season games but never making it past the second round of the playoffs. And, by remaining in the Central Division, he’d ensure plenty of chances to take revenge on the Wild.
Even without Suter, Colorado has a dominant group of defensemen, including Devon Toews, Samuel Girard and Norris Trophy runner-up Makar. But the group recently took a hit with the loss of Ryan Graves, whom the team traded to New Jersey last week for a second-round pick and depth forward Mikhail Maltsev. (The Avalanche likely wouldn’t have been able to protect Graves, a top-four defenseman, ahead of the expansion draft, so they decided to get something in return rather than risk losing him to Seattle.)
Next season, Colorado’s roster should feature young, up-and-coming defensemen like Bowen Byram and Conor Timmins. But the team could still use an established top-four defenseman, especially considering the injury history of alternate captain Erik Johnson, who played in only four games in 2021 after suffering an upper-body injury.