Things change quickly in the NHL, and quicker still when we get close to the trade deadline. Earlier today Preds GM David Poile said that they're going to be buyers at the deadline. If you believe what he says then that means Suter is off the table, but I don't buy it. At the end of the day there's a huge amount of risk associated with letting a player walk for nothing in the summer, especially one that could bring in valuable prospects/draft picks in a deal like Suter would.
Yesterday I looked at the even strength statistics for Nick Lidstrom, Brad Stuart, and Ryan Suter. Today I'll break down 5-on-4 stats in order to find out how each player fits into their team's powerplay.
A simple but important stat is ice time. On average, Lidstrom spends 3.51 minutes per game on the PP, Stuart spends 0.37 minutes per game on the PP, and Suter spends 3.87 minutes per game on the PP. Clearly Lidstrom and Suter are on the top units, while Stuart is on the second unit. Stuart is going to be at a disadvantage for most of the other stats explored here because he simply doesn't get much powerplay time.
Going forward, I think it makes sense to not analyze Stuart's offensive statistics as they're heavily skewed by his lack of ice time. He's been on the ice for one powerplay goal and one shorthanded goal. That's it. If the Wings lose Stuart in the offseason they aren't losing a huge part of their powerplay, and it makes more sense to look at even strength stats that reveal something about defense in order to fairly evaluate Stuart.
Lidstrom has been on the ice for 22 powerplay goals and 3 shorthanded goals. His on-ice goals for per 60 minutes of powerplay time is 7.22, while his on-ice goals against per 60 minutes is 0.99. This makes his on-ice +/- per 60 minutes 6.24. The team goals for per 60 minutes is 5.36, and the team goals against per 60 minutes is 1.61, which makes the team +/- per 60 minutes 3.75. The Wings' +/- per 60 minutes is 3.75 higher with Lidstrom on the ice, a clear indicator that he is one of the key cogs on the powerplay.
Suter has been on the ice for 27 powerplay goals and 1 shorthanded goal. His on-ice goals for per 60 minutes of powerplay time is 8.37, while his on-ice goals against per 60 minutes is 0.31. This makes his on-ice +/- per 60 minutes 8.06. The team goals for per 60 minutes is 5.23, and the team goals against per 60 minutes is 0.87, which makes the team +/- per 60 minutes 4.36. Suter's powerplay numbers are amazing. He's playing a ton of time on the powerplay, and he's seen high offensive production as a result.
Though he's going to cost a hefty sum (both in terms of assets given up to acquire via trade or in terms of money via free agency), it's hard not to love the impact Suter has had on Nashville's powerplay. He could be the piece that finally makes Detroit's powerplay go. As I pointed out in my statistical breakdown of the team at the All Star break, this is the main area they need to improve upon if they want to lift the Cup in June.