Nashville Predators general manager David Poile said Friday that he believes defenseman Ryan Suter will test unrestricted free agency on July 1, but added that he does not want to trade his rights before that date.
"Unless something changes in the near future, he's going to take a peek at July 1," Poile said during a media conference call following the trade that sent goaltender Anders Lindback to Tampa Bay, according to the Tennessean. "We're going to be in consistent contact with him, and I'm certainly hoping, as he said to me a week ago, that he's not going to make a sudden decision ... and we're going to have some conversations after he has talked to these different teams."'
If the Predators and the 27-year-old All-Star don't come to terms July 1, Suter can sign with another team without compensation for Nashville. Poile said he continues to be optimistic that Suter will stay in Nashville, even as his time to sign the defenseman melts away.
"I'm not negative about our chances," Poile said. "I still believe we are a good fit for what Ryan wants in a team. I will continue to be optimistic that he will re-sign."
Poile has traded the rights to unrestricted free agent before July 1 in previous years in order to avoid losing players without compensation. He said he has no intentions of doing that in Suter's case.
"We've never entertained any offers for him," Poile said. "He has never said he doesn't want to play for us. He just said he wants to take a look."