Stars Sign Defenseman Ryan Suter to 4-Year, $14.6M Contract

Carrying an AAV of $3.65M, the 36 year old defenseman serves as a replacement for Jamie Oleksiak, who was taken in the NHL Expansion Draft.

The Dallas Stars have found their Jamie Oleksiak replacement.

After a couple weeks of speculation, the Dallas Stars have reportedly agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent defenseman Ryan Suter. The deal is for $14.6M over four years, carrying an average annual value (AAV) of $3.65M.

Suter was bought out by the Minnesota Wild earlier this offseason in an effort to clear cap space and protection slots for the NHL Expansion Draft. At 36 years old, Suter is still a strong hockey player but is likely to fall off by the time his new contract is complete. As a 35+ contract, there will also be no reduced cap hit in the event of a buyout or retirement.

But for the time being, he is a solid top-four defenseman who will presumably slot alongside Miro Heiskanen, although the Stars could instead opt to break up the Esa Lindell and John Klingberg pairing.

The signing fortifies the Stars’ belief that this is their year to go all-in for a Stanley Cup run. With Klingberg, Alexander Radulov, and Joe Pavelski all pending UFAs after this season, this likely marks the last shot at the Stars’ “Cup Window” with a core centered around Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.

Time will tell whether Suter proves to be a savvy pickup (like Radulov and Pavelski) or your typical free agency mistake.

Update: The signing is now official — here is the Stars’ press release:

FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has signed defenseman Ryan Suter to a four-year, $14,600,000 contract, which will run through the 2024-25 season. The four-year contract has an annual average value (AAV) of $3,650,0000.

Suter, 36, recorded 19 points (3-16=19) in 56 regular-season games played for Minnesota in 2020-21 averaging 22:11 of ice time per game. He finished with a +9 plus/minus rating, 12 penalty minutes and 86 shots on net. In seven postseason contests, he registered one assist and nine shots on net.

The 16-year NHL veteran has appeared in 1,198 career regular-season NHL games with Nashville and Minnesota, recording 607 points (93-514=607). Additionally, in 88 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, he has compiled 31 points (6-25=31) and 168 shots on net

Since entering the league in 2005, he leads all defensemen in games played (1,198), while his 607 points are fourth-most amongst all blueliners. Suter is one of 15 players selected in the 2003 NHL Draft to have reached 1,000 career NHL games and ranks third in games played amongst the draft class. His 607 career points pace all defensemen selected in the 2003 NHL Draft. He was named a First Team NHL All-Star in 2012-13 and has made three All-Star Game appearances (2012, 2015, 2017).

“Ryan is a true professional and will be a great fit in our top-four,” said Nill. “He has a huge influence on the game with his ability to diffuse plays which injects a sense of calmness into his teammates. He is able to play in every situation and as a veteran of 16 NHL seasons, his wealth of experience will be a great addition to our dressing room.”

Internationally, Suter has earned a silver medal with the 2010 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team. He has also played on the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team, five U.S. Men’s National Teams (2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2019), one World Cup of Hockey appearance (2016), three U.S. National Junior Teams (2003, 2004-gold medal, 2005) and two U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Teams (2002-gold medal, 2003).

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound native of Madison, Wisconsin was originally selected by Nashville in the first round (7th overall) of the 2003 NHL Draft. He was signed as a free agent by Minnesota on July 4, 2012 and his contract was bought out by the Wild on July 13, 2021.