Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter will join five of his NHL teammates at the Winter Olympics next month in Vancouver, after being named to the U.S. men's hockey team this afternoon. He follows in the footsteps of his father, Bob Suter, who was a member of the 1980 U.S. team that won the gold medal at Lake Placid (you might have heard of the "Miracle on Ice"?).
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Having taken steps forward in each of his five NHL seasons, Suter leads the Predators with 24:08 of ice time per game, including regular duty on both the power play and penalty kill. One measure of his defensive skill is his ability to log heavy minutes against elite opponents without taking an undue number of penalties. He's on pace for a career-low 44 PIM this season.
Follow after the jump for the press release from the Predators...
When the United States became the last of the 12 competing nations to announce its Olympic roster on Friday, Predators defenseman Ryan Suter was included on the squad, joining Shea Weber (Canada), Martin Erat (Czech Republic), Alexander Sulzer (Germany), Marcel Goc (Germany) and Patric Hornqvist (Sweden) as Predators who will be heading to Vancouver in February.
Suter is tied for 13th among League defensemen in assists (18), and is tied for 18th among all skaters in average ice time (24:08). He has nine assists in his last 14 games, and ranked second among NHL blueliners in plus/minus rating during the month of December (+9). This is the Madison, Wis., native's first Olympics, but eighth time representing the U.S. in international play - he's played in three World Junior Championships and four World Championships. In 2004, he helped the Red, White and Blue to their first-ever gold medal at the world junior tournament.
Five of the six players were drafted by Nashville. Suter (seventh overall), Weber (49th overall) and Sulzer (92nd overall) were all tabbed in the 2003 Entry Draft held in Nashville. Drafted 230th overall in 2005, Hornqvist is one of just nine players selected with the final pick of an entry draft (41 total) to appear in the NHL. Of those nine, he ranks third in goals (15) and fourth in points (28). Selected 191st overall in the 1999 Entry Draft, Erat is second on the franchise's all-time goals (116) and points (330) lists.
Others within the organization named to their respective countries' Olympic Teams include Roman Josi (Switzerland) - who will be one of just two players (along with teammate Luca Sbisa) to play in both the 2010 World Junior Championships and 2010 Olympics - and Alexander Radulov (Russia).