Preds' Suter: No long-term deal before trade deadline
All-Star defenseman Ryan Suter wants to stay in Nashville. GM David Poile wants his All-Star defenseman to stay in Nashville.
If they're going to make the marriage work, it'll have to happen after the season is over.
Suter, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, said Friday at NHL All-Star Media Day that he doesn't see a point in attempting to hurry up and get a new contract done prior to the Feb. 27 trade deadline because he fears it would become a distraction for his team, which sits fifth in the Western Conference.
Poile has had contract discussions with Suter's agent, Neil Sheehy. this season, but judging by Suter's comments Friday there is a good chance those will continue for a while.
Poile told NHL.com prior to the All-Star break that he has never felt any pressure to rush to get a deal done either, but he'd obviously prefer to get it done as quickly as possible to avoid any trade speculation surrounding Suter.
"Our deadline is July 1," Poile said. "My first goal has been and still is to sign Ryan, and we're going to try to do it. The sooner we do that the better off I believe our franchise is in terms of making other decisions going forward. That's what we have been working towards."
However, Poile admits he has to be prepared to trade Suter at the deadline on a just-in-case basis. For instance, if the Predators for some reason fall flat coming out of the All-Star break and contract talks break down completely, he knows if he puts Suter on the market he'll be able to get a strong return for a two-way blueliner who averages 26:28 of ice time per game.
However, neither Poile nor Suter expect the Predators to stumble. Neither party wants to talk trade now.
The Predators have won four in a row and 12 of their last 14 games. Suter has 28 points in 47 games this season.
2012 NHL ALL-STAR GAME
Alfredsson makes everyone happy
NHL.com Daniel Alfredsson said he's like to draft each of his Sens' teammates for the All-Star Game. He did that and also picked fellow Swedes too. READ MORE ›
"If they trade me they trade me, but I want to win and I'm going to do everything in my power to win," Suter told NHL.com prior to the All-Star break. "If we're winning, I hope that David will maybe go out and get that extra piece; work the other way rather than deal me, and we'll take care of the rest later. I tell David, and I'm telling you right now, straight up, that I like it in Nashville and it's a great place to live."
Suter said the last part with an emphatic tone in his voice.
"You just try to play as hard as you can and do the best you can for your team," Suter said. "If you keep winning and have a chance to go far into the playoffs and hopefully go far, the rest of it will take care of itself. I think the big thing is to just focus on winning the Stanley Cup and if you do that, everything else will take care of itself."
Suter is an All-Star defenseman who appears to be due a significant raise from the $3.5 million he is making this season. But the Predators, who have one of the lowest payrolls in the League this season, recently signed goaltender Pekka Rinne to a new contract that pays him $7 million annually; captain Shea Weber, who was awarded $7.5 million in arbitration during the summer, is a restricted free agent following this season. Weber also said he plans to work on a new contract with the Predators after the season.
Poile said in his comments earlier this month he doesn't anticipate any dip in Suter's game in the coming weeks.
"Yes, I've certainly seen contractual situations bother a player, but I can tell you 100 percent that with Ryan, we can talk about his contract and the situation about the Predators and he can go on the ice and play," Poile said. "He has that ability. It's not affecting his play at all."