Nashville GM David Poile has finally admitted what most of us already suspected by revealing that star defenseman Ryan Suter intends to test the open market on July 1st. The statement, as seen on Pro Hockey Talk, indicates that Nashville is still optimistic that they will be able to retain Suter's services but will have to do so after the defenseman explores other options.
That noise you might hear is the sound of the Nashville front office collectively holding their breath.
On the surface this looks like a pretty bad sign for the Nashville Predators. They can remain optimistic about the situation but the fact remains that Suter has elected to see what other teams can offer as opposed to taking an early offer from Nashville. While the Predators might be able to reach a new deal with Suter, the mere fact that he is talking with other teams will certainly drive up the already high price and likely increases the odds that he will be skating with a new team in 2012-13.
Currently, the Internet speculates Suter will end up with the Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings have a huge hole to fill with Nicklas Lidstrom calling it a career and Suter would help solidify the blue line nicely. Still, while the Red Wings could be labeled as the "favorite" based on all the speculating you'll find on various forums, sites and message boards, you can bet that the Predators, and other teams, will make a strong offer to keep him in the mix. You can chalk up most of this talk as rumor fodder but you could also see where a "Suter to Detroit" story would make a lot of sense.
However, the news isn't all doom and gloom for Nashville fans. The Pro Hockey Talk report indicates that David Poile believes that they will have an easier time retaining Shea Weber. Weber, a restricted free agent, will be easier to negotiate with than Ryan Suter, an unrestricted free agent. This is mostly common sense but it may reveal that initial talks with Weber have gone more smoothly than ones with Suter.
Got all that? If not, here's a quick summary of where things appear to stand as teams prepare for the 2012 NHL Draft:
- Nashville is optimistic about reaching a deal with Ryan Suter but knows they will have to wait until after Suter has explored other options. This means they will have to place their bid, along with all the other interested teams, on or after July 1st.
- Nashville seems optimistic about reaching a new deal with Shea Weber, though this may come as a result of Weber being a restricted player while Suter is unrestricted.
- The Predators aren't viewing Suter's intentions as a sign of disrespect, instead viewing it as a logical move for a player in Suter's position. That being said, there are bound to be some nervous individuals in the Nashville front office.
- Nashville fans are freaking out waiting for news on one, or both, of their prized defensemen. Can you blame them?
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