Ryan Suter shocked the hockey world last July 4 when he and former North Dakota star Zach Parise signed identical 13-year, $98 million deals with the Minnesota Wild. One year later -- almost to the day -- Suter was honored by the pro hockey writers' association as an NHL first-team all-star.
The Madison, Wis., native was the raft that held the Wild afloat defensively last season. Suter led all NHL defensemen in time on ice (27:16 per game), was second in assists (28) and third in points (32). The former Badger also led the Wild in assists and blocked shots in his first season in Minnesota.
Suter topped 30 minutes of ice time 13 times last season for the Wild, including nine games of 30 minutes or more in Minnesota's final 16 contests. Suter set a franchise record in the playoffs, playing over 41 minutes in a Game One loss to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.
Other members of the six-player first team include goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus), defenseman P.K. Subban (Montreal), center Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh) and wingers Alex Ovechkin (Washington) and Chris Kunitz ( Pittsburgh).
The Wild was able to lure in Suter last summer after he spent the first seven seasons of his NHL career with the Nashville Predators, who selected him with the No. 7 pick in the first round of the 2003 NHL Draft.
Suter, who spent one season with the Badgers in 2003-04, becomes the first NHL first-team all-star since Dany Heatley in 2007. Suter is the 13th former Badger to be named a first-team NHL all-star.
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