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By: Kevin O’Keefe | Follow me on Twitter @Kevin_OKeefe89

In what promises to be an extremely exciting off-season across the league, things just got a bit spicier with the Minnesota Wild set to buy out forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter. The Bruins have been very vocal when it comes to the needs of this team, and a top-4 left-shot defenseman is at the top of their list. The Bruins have been linked to many guys to fill the void in their top-4.

Guys like Alec Martinez and Mattias Ekholm may not be an option. Martinez is set to go after a pay-day that may price him out of the Bruins lineup, and Ekholm doesn’t look like he will be available this off-season for a trade. Could the Bruins now turn their attention to Ryan Suter? They absolutely should.

The now free-agent Ryan Suter will garner a ton of interest from general managers across the league. The price will come down significantly from his $7.5 million cap hit to a more reasonable number for his services. Suter could end up being a cheaper option for your top-4 as opposed to others. This will all come down to how badly teams want him. What could be a cheap option can quickly turn into a bidding war and an over-payment. I don’t think the Bruins are looking to overpay for a 36-year-old defenseman who has lost some stride in his defensive game, and in this flat-cap era, there aren’t many teams who would. 

Suter may be up there in age, but he still has some gas left in the tank. While still a very serviceable top-4 guy, his defensive game has been on a steady decline. That shouldn’t be an issue for the Bruins since both of their top-4 right-defensemen bring a solid defensive game to the table. Whether he is paired with Charlie McAvoy or Brandon Carlo, he would be carried defensively and wouldn’t end up being a liability. Where Suter shines is in his offensive side of the game. This is a player that should be able to bring you 40-points on the blue line in an 82-game season. He also is a heavy minute’s eater averaging 22-minutes-per-game for the Minnesota Wild last season. 

Where exactly would Suter fit best in the Bruins line-up? He could still be relied upon as a top-pairing guy with the number of minutes and offense he can bring to the table. Putting anyone next to McAvoy usually ends in success. We saw that this past season when Bruins young defenseman Jeremey Lauzon was paired up with McAvoy, so slotting Suter into that top-pairing could possibly be the fit. The only issue I see with that pairing is that McAvoy would be better suited to play alongside a player who has a similar two-way approach to the game or a solid shut-down guy. Suter, at this point of his career, is more of an offensive-minded player.

If you were to slot Suter into a second-pairing role with Carlo, you might see the best success for him. Carlo being a shut-down minutes eater, could easily allow Suter to get the most out of his offensive game. Suter would be better suited to having a player like Carlo who could bail him out when needed opposed to McAvoy, whose offensive game could suffer in the same scenario.

The Bruins will be looking to get the most point production out of the defense this year as possible. Having a top-paring of Grzelcyk-McAvoy and a second pairing of Suter-Carlo could be exactly what the Bruins need this upcoming season. I’m sure Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy would try out both scenarios for Suter in camp and possibly at the beginning of the season before deciding. Ryan Suter is a great option for Boston this off-season, and they should be all in on trying to sign him.