StaTuesday: Wild's Ryan Suter at 1,000
Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter is kicking off his 14th NHL season with a major milestone.
Suter, 33, will become one of just six active defensemen to reach 1,000 games, joining Zdeno Chara, Jay Bouwmeester, Dan Hamhuis, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith, when the Wild host the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
They'll soon have some company.
Ron Hainsey, Brooks Orpik, Dion Phaneuf, Trevor Daley and Brent Burns are all on pace to reach the milestone this season as well.
|Player||Draft (Overall, Year)||Current Tm||GP||G||A||P||P/GP|
|Zdeno Chara||56th, 1996||Bruins||1431||196||434||630||0.44|
|Jay Bouwmeester||3rd, 2002||Blues||1113||84||315||399||0.36|
|Dan Hamhuis||12th, 2001||Predators||1037||59||285||344||0.33|
|Brent Seabrook||14th, 2003||Blackhawks||1012||96||341||437||0.43|
|Duncan Keith||54th, 2002||Blackhawks||1003||92||456||548||0.55|
|Ryan Suter||7th, 2003||Wild||999||77||423||500||0.50|
|Ron Hainsey||13th, 2000||Maple Leafs||996||55||225||280||0.28|
|Brooks Orpik||18th, 2000||Capitals||990||17||170||187||0.19|
|Dion Phaneuf||9th, 2003||Kings||989||136||352||488||0.49|
|Trevor Daley||43rd, 2002||Red Wings||976||87||208||295||0.30|
|Brent Burns||20th, 2003||Sharks||969||183||390||573||0.59|
|Marc-Edouard Vlasic||35th, 2005||Sharks||901||64||225||289||0.32|
|Niklas Kronwall||29th, 2000||Red Wings||880||80||325||405||0.46|
|Dan Girardi||UDFA, 2003||Lightning||872||52||199||251||0.29|
|Shea Weber||49th, 2003||Canadiens||867||189||312||501||0.58|
|Braydon Coburn||8th, 2003||Lightning||857||44||163||207||0.24|
The 2018-19 season will be another season of milestones for Suter's draft class -- 2003 -- often hailed as one of the best in the draft's 55-year history.
Suter, Phaneuf, Seabrook and Burns were all selected in the first round, while Shea Weber and Dustin Byfuglien, who will reach 1,000 games over the next two seasons barring injury, were later picks.
Wild teammates Eric Staal, Zach Parise and Eric Fehr were also drafted in 2003.
Staal, now in his third season with the Wild, played in his 1,000th game on March 19, 2017, becoming the first member of the class to reach the milestone.
But while some of his contemporaries are starting to slow down, Suter continues to anchor the Wild's blue line despite suffering a serious ankle injury last in March.
He'd been an iron man prior to the injury, appearing in 242 consecutive regular-season games for the Wild, and was coming off a career-high 51-point season.
Suter needed surgery to repair his fibula and talus, a large bone in the ankle. At the time, he was told that the injury would have been career-ending for some athletes.
He's still playing like an iron man despite missing most of training camp and the preseason.
Suter is averaging 25:45 of average ice time, fifth in the league, and leads the Wild at 27.3 shifts per game. He's been chipping in on offense as well, and even showing off a few new tricks.
Suter has two goals and five assists in eight games this season, including a game-tying shorthanded goal in the Wild's 4-3 overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks earlier this month.
It was just the fourth shorthanded goal of Suter's career, and the ninth ever scored by a Wild defenseman.
He picked up point No. 500 a few games later, with a goal in a 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars, which will make him just the 51st defenseman ever to reach 500 points and 1,000 games.