Wild Watch: Ryan Carter Grinds it Out

Previous previews: Mikko Koivu, Jonas Brodin, Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter, Ryan Suter, Jason Pominville, Devan Dubnyk, Thomas Vanek, Charlie Coyle 

Today, Ryan Carter is featured.

2014-15 Review

At the beginning of last season, the New Jersey Devils invited Ryan Carter to training camp, but the two eventually parted ways at the beginning of the season. After New Jersey let Carter go, the Minnesota Wild picked him up and signed him to a one-year deal.

Carter was far from a flashy, offensive addition to the Wild, but he did provide depth, defensive play and was a strong penalty killer for a low price.

In his first month with Minnesota, Carter went on a scoring streak, tallying nine points in 15 games. Though Carter didn’t keep this pace up for long, the 32-year-old center provided the Wild with more than just offense for the rest of the season.

Despite dealing with being shuffled in and out of the lineup and relatively little ice time, Carter managed to become a valuable member of the team. His penalty-kill expertise was one of the best on the team, as well as the entire league. While some nights it was hard to remember Carter was still a member of the Wild, this guy did more for the team than one might think.

If you take a look at his HERO chart, it’s easier to see how much Carter actually contributed. Though he only played around 10 minutes a game, Carter had a huge impact on his teammates’ play when he was on the ice. He may have seemed irrelevant at times, but Carter was definitely a solid pickup by the Wild back in October.


2014-15 Regular Season Stats

Games played: 53 Goals: 3 Assists: 10 Points: 13 +/-: 3

2015-16 Predictions

Last year, the Wild clearly saw something they liked in Carter and wanted to keep him around a little longer. On the very first day of free agency, Minnesota signed Carter to a one-year, $625,000 deal. While I don’t see Carter doing much more this year than he did last season, this was still a smart move for the Wild. Carter adds some depth to this team at either center or wing, which is never a bad thing to have.

Unfortunately for Carter, I’m not predicting tons more ice time in his future. He’s a good choice for a fourth-line center or wing, but it’s hard to imagine he’ll be more than that for the Wild. Carter can provide some extra defense and great penalty killing, but I’d expect he’s going to face some competition for a spot in the lineup.

However, if Carter is looking to make himself a valuable investment for this team, he needs to work on playing at center. Minnesota isn’t exactly strong in that department – if Carter can buff up his skills in this area, that might make him a more enticing option for the lineup each night.

If he can get the same kind of playing time that he did last season, I’d expect to see more of the same from Carter in 2015-16.