Nashville Predators general manager David Poile said on the FAN590′s HockeyCentral radio show that the club is aiming to re-sign pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Ryan Suter. And preferably before the February 27 trade deadline.
However, nothing appears to have changed since February 1st when Josh Cooper of the Tennessean reported that Poile and Suter’s agent have had negotiations on a new contract for the American defenseman.
And if progress isn’t made Poile told the FAN590 that he cannot guarantee that he will not deal Suter to avoid the risk of losing him for nothing at season’s end.
I don’t want to shut the door (on a trade), but I can’t see us being successful without Ryan (Suter) in first our quest to make the playoffs and obviously to win in the playoffs. Our goal is to sign him… As a manager you can’t deal in absolutes. The landscape changes every day with your wins and losses and injuries.
The Predators have long been a budget-conscious club while sporting one of the lowest payrolls in the NHL. The belief throughout the hockey world is that they would not be able to afford goaltender Pekka Rinne’s salary cap hit of $7.0 million and the their need to re-sign defenseman Shea Weber. But the on-the-cheap days are over, according to Poile.
We’ve always been one of the lowest spending teams in the NHL, but our owners have got their arms totally around the fact to pay Pekka Rinne $7 million, to pay Weber ($7.5 million), and fill in the blank on what you think it will cost to sign Suter, you add up all of our salaries and we’re going to be a cap team next year.
Could that also mean that the Predators may target a few rental players to try and make a play for the Stanley Cup? NBC’s ProHockeyTalk’s Jason Brough suggests that the ownership in Nashville should show they’re committed to winning by being aggressive at the trade deadline and bolster their roster.
As the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman points out it’s not all about money with Suter. Suter wants to win. And proving that the Predators want the same thing could go a long way for them to retain their Star blueliner.
It’s not that cut and dry to Poile, however. He has a number of options to to consider.
My aggressiveness to make changes between now and Feb. 27 could take on salary, could take on rental players, could give up future (draft picks and prospects), it all probably makes sense if (Ryan) Suter is signed. If Ryan leaves here on July 1, maybe a lot of those things I was going to do wouldn’t make a lot of sense in the long run.
But don’t look for Suter to make it easy on his general manager.
As reported by USA Today’s Kevin Allen and others during the All Star weekend, Suter is intent on hitting the open market and doesn’t appear to be too interested in signing a contract extension.
I don’t see the point of doing it. It would be a distraction at this point. I will still be with Nashville until July 1, and we could still get something done.
Suter went on to tell ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun that his priority is the game on the ice, not on negotiating a new contract.
I feel it would be more of a distraction than anything. We’ve never had a timeline or deadline. We’re just focusing on winning. Everything else will take care of itself.
Suter was then asked by Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer how the idea of playing for the Philadelphia Flyers sounded. The Flyers have been rumored to have interest in picking up Suter as a replacement for the injured Chris Pronger.
I don’t think about where I want to be. I focus on being a good player on our team. The time will come for all that, and now is not the time. Our team is doing very good right now, and hopefully we can go and get that piece we might need for the playoffs.
Darren Dreger of TSN reports that the New York Rangers will be among a number of teams that will show interest in Suter if he were to be made available. Dreger believes that he would cost a roster player, an A level prospect, a B level prospect, and a 1st round draft pick.