Nashville general manager David Poile spent Thursday in Madison, Wis., visiting with free agent-to-be Ryan Suter and his agent, Neil Sheehy. But while both sides say the talks went well and will continue, Suter is now a day closer to free agency.
Poile and Suter reportedly talked about Nashville's plans for the team and the franchise. The Tennessean reports that the two sides said they would continue discussions in the upcoming week. If Suter and the Predators don't come to terms by July 1, he can sign with any team.
"The meetings were very, very good. They were very positive and very constructive and went through a lot of things," Poile told the newspaper on Friday. "There's no negatives that I hear in terms of what would be a reason to not come back to Nashville. Having said that, we still don't have a deal, but I'm still optimistic and still going to keep constant dialogue in this process."
Neil Sheehy, Suter's agent, agreed with Poile's assessment.
Defense - NSH
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 4
SOG: 30 | +/-: -3
"They went well," he told the paper. "We felt that it was worth continuing discussion. We were candid with each other, and our discussions are going to continue to be ongoing. I think we've been very candid with each other, and you're always looking for solutions and that's why we're continuing to have dialogue."
Suter, an All-Star defenseman, finished this season with seven goals and a career-high 46 points. He is one of the two big names who can become unrestricted free agents this summer -- the other is New Jersey forward Zach Parise, whose team is playing Los Angeles in the Stanley Cup Final.
Understandably, Poile is eager to keep Suter in a Nashville uniform.
"He knows my feelings as to how it would be certainly in the Nashville Predators’ best interest to sign sooner rather than later, but I’m also well aware I don’t control that," Poile told ESPN.com. "That’s the right that he’s earned, to become an unrestricted free agent. Whether he takes that opportunity or not, I don’t know the answer to that yet."
Sheehy said there will be more talks before Suter makes any decision.
"We talked about many issues," he told ESPN.com. "Both sides were candid with each other. What we agreed to do is to continue our dialogue. Ryan, it’s no secret, loves Nashville. Ryan is just considering a lot of things. But David gave us more things to think about."
However, time is getting tighter for the Predators, whose plans for next season are largely on hold until Suter makes his decision. Poile has said in the past he'd like that to come by early June.
"The sooner the better and he knows how I feel from that regard," Poile told the Tennessean on Friday. "Say we get a commitment from him — the better it would be for our franchise, and allow more opportunities to do more things. Having said that, I don't control that."