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My Thoughts on Ryan Suter heading to Minnesota


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Photo Credit: Cris Bouroncle, AFP/Getty Image

News broke a couple hours ago the both Ryan Suter and Zach Parise agreed to play for the Minnesota Wild for 13 years/$98 million each. While this left a sour taste in the mouth of Nashville and New Jersey fans, it thoroughly disappointed David Poile.

You can catch the whole audio from the conference call here (thanks to Pete Weber and via Buddy Oakes at PredsOnTheGlass) but here are the excerpts/highlights I tweeted out earlier (in chronological order from the start of the conference call):

Poile: “Very disappointed and surprised”

Poile: “I’ve had 20/30/40 conversations with Ryan (an his agent). In all the conversations, he’s had a criteria why he would sign”

Poile talks about all the reason why Suter should have signed and you can hear the disappointment in his voice

Poile: “This is a real missed opportunity, it could have gone down as the best defensive pairing in the history of the NHL”

Poile: “Suter said it clearly wasn’t about the money. We didn’t have a chance to make a counter-offer”

Poile: “He told me it was for family reasons” [when asked why Suter wouldn’t sign]

Poile: “I can’t argue with that. The disappointing part is that wasn’t what we talked about all year long”

Poile: “Today this is very very very disappointing”

Poile: “Our focus is now turning to our captain, Shea Weber. We want to build the team around him”

Poile: “We want him in Nashville for years to come”

Poile: “The disappointing part for me was the reasons for the final decision.”

Poile: “Everything we talked about, we were/or are/or did. From that standpoint, it’s disappointing”

Poile said it would have made things easier for Weber if Suter signed

Poile: “I told Shea on numerous occasion that you are the captain of our team and we want to build the team around you”

Poile: “I think you have to let me play out the process. I haven’t talked to Weber today.” [in regards to what happens if he can’t sign 6]

Poile: “From the franchise standpoint, it hurts.”

Poile: “In November, Ryan said he’s not going anywhere else and he is signing with Nashville. That’s a quote.”

Poile: “He told me ‘I have to do this for family reasons'”

Poile: “Parise would have been more interested in Nashville if I had Ryan Suter signed”

Poile: “Were we willing to offer him a 13 year contract? Absolutely, we did”

Poile keeps talking about Suter’s “for family reasons” reason. He is extremely upset, and you can tell it

Poile: “We’re going to find a way. It’s a credit to the Predators, we’ve found ways to fight back before”

Poile: “We’ll replace Ryan and stay competitive”

Poile: “I can’t really share anything yet [in regards to Plan B]”

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You can tell just by reading through all of the above quotes that Poile is disappointed, to say the least, but the one quote that stuck out in my head was “In November, Ryan said he’s not going anywhere else and he is signing with Nashville. That’s a quote.” It really makes it seem that Ryan Suter lied directly to David Poile. Just calling it like I see it, however if that is truly what was said and seeing that Suter ended up in Minnesota, there doesn’t seem to be much of any other way to look at it.

Sure, Suter will be playing much closer to home and with his long-time pal Zach Parise, however what he did was to string on David Poile for nearly 8 months before ultimately deciding against returning to Nashville.

His main reason? Family. Family seemed to play the biggest part in Suter’s apparent reasoning behind going to Minnesota. However, did he not think that Nashville could be a place where he could win a Stanley Cup? Or did he just really want to play with his buddy and have a chance to win a Stanley Cup with him? Suter could have done that in Nashville if he would have re-signed and then lured Parise into the gold, there is no question about that.

Parise has some great talent to play beside in Minnesota: Heatley, Koivu, Setoguchi, Cullen, Bouchard primarily. Comparatively, what about Suter? He gets paired with either Tom Gilbert or Clayton Stoner. Marco Scandella, Nate Prosser, and Jared Spurgeon round out the rest of the defensive corp. Unless sneaky Craig Leipold has promised Suter that he will be getting some additional help for him, I really am at a loss as to why Suter would want that level of pressure on him.

Yes, he’s moving on to a new chapter in his career and moving away from his primary defense partner of Shea Weber, who he’s been with since being drafted in Nashville. I’m sure he’ll be just fine without him, but who wouldn’t want to play with Shea Weber for their lifetime as a hockey player, especially being paired with him? The call to come home to the north must have been extremely strong for Suter.

For now, though, the new plan is for Poile to open the folder labeled “Plan B” and get to work. What does that entail? Carle? Bouwmeester? Martin? For sure it will include locking up Shea Weber to a long term contract as Poile wants to build the franchsie around Weber and Rinne now. If Poile can get a replacement in for Suter, a high-end top-2 defenseman, and bring in a skilled top-6 forward like a Bobby Ryan or so, then things go from bad to great very quickly, however the sting of losing a Ryan Suter won’t go away easily

While I wish Ryan Suter the very best, I think his choice to go to Minnesota to play with Parise isn’t the best one. It may be the best for his family, making everyone happy, however for his hockey career I don’t believe it is. Call me crazy or say I wear gold-colored glasses, but this isn’t the best hockey-related decision of his career. But…what do I know? Minnesota could easily pull a “Miami Heat” and have a Stanley Cup in two seasons. Anything is possible in this crazy business of the NHL that we all follow and love