Minnesota Wild Final Season Grades: Left D (Staff Writers Grades)

Hannah Foslien

G'day, Wilderness! While it may be cloudy outside, it's still a great day here at the Wilderness. It can't be any better because after my 2 (and only) finals tomorrow, I'll be done with my freshman year at the University of St. Thomas. Yesterday, the editors here at the Wilderness did their final season grades for our left defensemen, and now, it's time to see how us staff writers graded them.

Dan Czarnecki (WIMinnesotaWildFan)

Ryan Suter: A

Despite a slow start on his transition from the Predators to the Wild, he really came out of his shell halfway through this season when he scored his first goal in a Wild sweater against the Blackhawks back on March 6th. Along with Brodin, he really knew how to block shots from going in. Being nominated for the Norris trophy is also something he should be proud of. Good job this season, Suter!

Clayton Stoner: C-

Stoner's performance this season was mediocre to say the least. He does an ok job in our defensive zone, but I feel almost feel like he's past his prime. Sorry Stoner, I think your time with the Wild is coming to an end pretty soon.

Justin Falk: C

Falk's play this season was pretty inconsistent. Like many of our players, he would have an good night, and other nights, a bad night. I don't see him staying on the Wild, or for that matter, the NHL, for long unless he knows how to play with consistency.

Marco Scandella: B

Will he stay or will he go? That's the question many Wild fans were wondering about Scandella this season. He was spectacular down in Houston in the AHL, so why was he wasting his time down there? He finally got called back up to the Wild when they went to the playoffs, and it was a great learning experience for him.


Aaron Holm (The Nooge)

Ryan Suter: A

Receiving my first A (and only?) in the grading department is one Ryan Suter. The Norris Trophy front runner, after starting out slow in what has been called an adjustment period turned his game around quickly. After hitting a low of -7 twice in the early parts of the season, Suter stormed back to an even +/- in late March and finished the regular season at +2. His 32 points (4g/28a) were tops amongst the blue line and 3rd overall on the team. His average time on ice a gaudy 27.17min/game was tops in the NHL. The question of whether Suter would flourish without Weber has been answered. This guy is everything he was billed up to be and I was very impressed with his game.

Clayton Stoner: C-

Clayton Stoner had his moments this season that made you want to rip your hair out. As the season wore on these occasions seemed to crop up more frequently. His 42 PIM were tops amongst the Wild's defensive core and definitely something that stuck out to me. At times the game seemed too fast for him, and he would struggle to move the puck out of the defensive zone. With some work in the off-season hopefully the game will slow down for him. His 6'4" frame is an intangible on the ice, and if his development continues we should start noticing less gaffes a better play coming out of the D-zone.

Justin Falk: D-

Coming in 2nd place in defensive penalty minutes is one Justin Falk. I struggle to recall anything Falk does good on the ice. 3 points, all from assists, -9 and the aforementioned penalty minutes are certainly nothing to be proud of. At just 24 years old this past season, he at least has a lot of room for improvement, A LOT of room ...

Marco Scandella: B-

Playing just 11 games for the Wild when you combine the regular season with the playoffs, Scandella did not disappoint with the limited time he filled in. Playing in all 5 playoff games he was the top scoring defensive player notching a goal and an assist for just 2 points. While not crazy impressive numbers, they are pretty good for a 22 year old kid playing against the best team in the Western Conference. This kid should get a good look next season and hopefully see some more time on the ice with the Minnesota Wild.


Eric Burton

Ryan Suter: A-

Ryan Suter came to the Wild last summer on the Fourth of July and expectations were high. Suter had a bit of a rough start but ended season strong for the Wild and ended up playing big minutes in the Wild’s druign their short playoff run. Suter proved to be a solid shut down defender that could be used against the opposition’s top players. Suter is also a finalist for the Norris trophy. I could rant and rave about the former Wisconsin Badger all day long, but we all seen what he can do.

Clayton Stoner: C-

Clayton Stoner seemed to be a bit inconsistent in his play on the blue line this season. First the positive; while Stoner did take a step forward this year points-wise; he had career numbers in assists and points, he was brutal defensively on the ice. At times Stoner looked lost, if not flat out slow against the NHL’s elite players, coughing up untimely turnovers. Stoner has a year remaining on a RFA deal so he has a chance to redeem himself next season.


Justin Falk: D+

Justin Falk is another untrustworthy turn over factory, a bad play away from costing the Wild the game every time he hits the ice. Frankly, I think the Wild keep him around for his grit and toughness. Falk, while not a heavy weight, but is a willing pugilist of the middle weight variety and will stick up for teammates when needed. That is a quality of him that I like. If there is a way for the Wild to ship him down the road, I would make it happen.


Marco Scandella: B-

Marco Scandella spent most of the season with the Houston Aeros of the AHL and showed during the Stanley Cup Playoffs that he should get a second look next season and I want to see more of him next season. Scandella is a RFA agent so he shouldn’t cost the Wild a lot of money and could end up making players like Justin Falk expendable.


Tony Wiseau

Ryan Suter: A-

Suter, save for 10 games in January/February and maybe 5 games in May, was as advertised, and maybe more. He shook off a bad start only to become a Norris favorite with the Wild. It really can't be overstated how big of an impact Suter made for the Wild, whose blue line would have been in shambles had they not signed him from Nashville. I can't remember which, but one of the local sportswriters said something recently to the effect of "The Wild are a Parise and Suter away from being the Florida Panthers." The truth is, that might well have been Florida or Colorado or edmonton if the Wild had Parise, and no Suter. Slight knock for the first quarter of the season and lack of points in playoffs.

Clayton Stoner: D+

toner was everyone's favorite whipping boy this year, and that was merited by his play. This was mostly because he doesn't move the puck particularly well. This isn't a problem when you're playing limited minutes with a puck-mover, but it's a gigantic problem when you're playing 18 minutes a game, and with an inconsistent Gilbert and Falk. Costly, costly turnovers and calls to be benched were a regular occurrence, particularly in the later part of the season. Hopefully, the Wild can get someone (we'll get to who that could have been later) who can put Stoner in a role where he'd be stretching himself less, and focusing on what he's good at.

Justin Falk: D+

Falk is a depth defenseman who was forced into fairly regular minutes in the NHL. Not his fault, but it showed.

Marco Scandella: D

I'm really happy that you stepped up, Marco, and had some good games in the playoffs. But where the hell were you before? Your team really could have used that type of game you showed in the playoffs, and during that time you were hurt or ineffective in the minors. You bringing that game for the Wild would have given Suter and Brodin less need to soak up all the minutes, it would have given a viable option on the second pair when Gilbert slumped, it would have solidified the bottom pairing by keeping Falk and Prosser off the ice, and it would have given you a grade higher than a D. Please come to play next year.


Andrew Ferraro

Ryan Suter: A

Slow start aside, he did everything the Wild brought him in to do. He plays all the time in just about every situation. He was stand-up when he game was down and he let his actions speak for him when we did well. He is the kind of player you bet the future on, and the Wild did just that. He'll be a mainstay for the rest of his career.

Clayton Stoner: C-

Just like the guy listed below him on this list, I am not sure he warrants an NHL job any more. The only reason that I think he is still on the team is because of his contact and the fact that the blueline depth in the minors was anything but. He is serviceable and that keep him in the NHL, but if you watch the Wild with any regularity, you're often covering your eyes when he has the puck.

Justin Falk: C

Just like the guy listed above him on this list, I loved watching him develop with the Aeros. Both were great guys, and one of the best off the ice parts of Falk was seeing him take batting practice at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Dude can hit the long ball ... but, does the dude really belong in the NHL? I think it's "not for long" unless he plays more consistently down the road.

Marco Scandella: B

Up, down, up, down, up ... well, you get the idea. One night, he was fantastic in Houston, and you had to wonder why he was wasting his time in the AHL. Then, the next night, he'd take the night off and show you why. I don't think he intentionally did this, but it looked like he'd make a new mistake every other game. I think, by the end of the year, he learned from his roller coaster ride, earned a call-up in the playoffs and earned the "B" grade for the time he spend in the NHL.


Giles Ferrell

Ryan Suter: A

After a horrible start, Suter turned into the best defenseman in the league. There wasn't anything Suter didn't do during the season. If there were team awards, Suter would be taking home Team MVP. He should be a shoe in for the Norris Trophy, but after the Calder voting, dont take anything for granted.

Clayton Stoner: C-

Stoner was a scapegoat for fans all year, making some crucial mistakes during games. His game did improve, but there is still lots of room for improvement. He did set a career high in points scored, but as a whole, it was a pretty terrible season for Stoner.

Justin Falk: D

Falk spent most of the season fighting to stay in the lineup, and not be a healthy scratch. But when you're battling with Brett Clark and Nate Prosser for ice time, that is not a good sign. He was inconsistent, and more times bad this year. It will be interesting what his future with the team, since he is an RFA this summer.

Marco Scandella: B

After an up and down year with Houston, Scandella finally got a chance with the Wild in the playoffs and made the most of it. He played terrific hockey, and showed he belonged up here. In fact, his play in the postseason made it clear, that he should be starting next year with the Wild.

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