Less than 24 hours before the NHL’s free agency period begins at 11 am Central Time Sunday, Nashville Predators General Manager David Poile spent part of his Saturday morning watching his team’s prospects take part in on-ice drills as part of this week’s Development Camp.
The normally stoic-looking Poile did not break from that character while standing along the glass at Centennial Sportsplex, save for the times a couple of stray pucks got a little too close for comfort and the only general manager in team history decided to take refuge in the hallway leading to the locker room, walking away with a smile.
Poile heads into Sunday unsure of whether unrestricted free agent Ryan Suter has played his last game in a Predators gold jersey. The All-Star defenseman has made it clear that he will test the market and will field offers from other teams interested in his services. His suitors will be many, and they will come calling with high-dollar contracts in hand.
A lot of athletes say that these decisions are not based upon money, but in this case, it may very well be true. Wherever Suter signs, he will receive a salary that is very likely to be in the $8 million per year range.
“Ryan has told me umpteen times that it is not about the money,” Poile said Saturday. “I feel that he is going to be compensated very well whether it is with us or anywhere else. I don’t think that we are going to be losing out on Ryan Suter’s decision based on money. That is what he has told me, and I firmly believe by what I would be prepared to put forth in an offer to him that the decision is not going to be about money.”
Suter has let it be known that he wishes to play for a team that has a chance to win the Stanley Cup. He has also said that he hopes that the team he signs his next contract with will be the one he plays for the remainder of his NHL career.
Poile certainly hopes that Suter decides to continue playing for the team that made him the seventh overall selection in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, which was held in what is now known as Bridgestone Arena.
Whether or not Nashville is the place Suter signs with, Poile feels comfortable with what he has done to try and retain the 2010 silver medalist’s services.
“Absolutely,” Poile said when asked if he feels that he has done all that he could with Suter to this point. “We have had enough conversations, and I am probably speaking for both sides, we would both like to see this to be over with. Over with for me is a good ending that he is playing for us.“
It is believed that Suter may take a few days before deciding where he will take his talents going forward. Poile believes that Suter will contact the Predators to revisit negotiations after fielding offers from other teams in advance of signing his new deal.