Thursday, June 7, 2012

Suter Watch: Is There Really A Chance?

Despite my hopes, the NHL season lives on for one more game. But, nonetheless, I am going to kick off some offseason posts with a new watch (Much like the Granlund Watch), the Suter Watch. Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter is a upcoming UFA, and is expected to receive offers from many teams, Minnesota being one of them. So as I kick off this watch, I ask the question: Does Minnesota really have a chance to land Suter?

Heading into next year, the Wild have $21.6 million in cap space (Taking into effect the cap increase to $70.3 million). So they would have the sufficient funds to sign Suter, who could command a contract in the neighborhood of $7 million. 

So all that would be left for Chuck Fletcher to do is simply sign the free agent when July 1st rolls around. Its gonna be a bit easier said than done.

Today I joined in a chat with Preds beat writer Josh Cooper of the Tennessean. He touched on a lot of topics, but the one of the most popular was Suter. I came away with the following thoughts from his chat, and from his previous post on Suter (Some of these aren't really new thoughts, but I'm going to put them out there again, anyways):
  1. The Preds are going all in for resigning Suter. A week ago, the Preds and Suter opened the first round of their negotiations. Both sides said talks went well and that they would continue over the next week. But since, there has been really no news on the Suter talks. But after reading today's chat, the Preds are really going all out to make sure Suter stays in the Music City. The Preds do have the cap space to bring him back too (Over $38 million), so money won't be an issue for Nashville.
  2. There is a good chance Suter resigns in Nashville. This past season, Nashville ownership made it very clear that they are in it to win. So at the trade deadline, they acquired D Hal Gill, F Andrei Kostitsyn, F Paul Gaustad and not to long after brought back F Alex Radulov from the KHL. The team was a heavy favorite to come out of the West, before being defeated by Phoenix in the second round in 5 games. But the message was sent to Nashville's core players. And for a guy like Suter, that could make it very easy to just resign with the Preds.
  3. If Suter doesn't resign, Shea Weber will most likely be leaving too. Now should Suter make it to July 1st and sign elsewhere, his defensive partner Shea Weber, could leave shortly thereafter. Weber is a RFA this offseason, but the following year he will be a UFA. So should Suter depart, Weber will want out too. If he wants out, the Preds could either trade him now and get something in return, or they will simply just let him walk away after next year. If the Wild miss out on Suter on July 1st, they would still have a shot at landing a big time defenseman with Shea Weber. 
  4. Zach Parise is likely to end up playing with Suter next year. This has been widely speculated for a while now, but it appears more and more likely that Suter and free agent to be F Zach Parise will team up and sign on with the same team this summer.Now there are only a handful of teams that could afford to sign both stars. Detroit, New York Rangers, Nashville, New Jersey and Minnesota would be the only legit contenders in that department (Yep, you read New Jersey). And it could simply be a case of one player resigns, and the other would just tag along and sign with that team. 
  5. The Wild are at the top of the pact, in terms of Suter suitors. The one question I asked in Cooper's chat today, was "If Suter does not resign in Nashville, where do you think he will sign?". And his reply was,"Detroit or New Jersey -- if the latter has more money to play with than we believe. If Parise re-signs there, I think it would be a good spot for him. At the same time, they have a ton of uncertainty. I just don't see Detroit happening, unless Ken Holland makes a few draft deals to get them younger and more talented again."  So clearly, he believes that Detroit will make those said draft deals and makes the team younger. The fact he said New Jersey really surprised me given all their financial uncertainty at this point. But I do believe that the Devils won't go quietly into the night on keeping Parise, so it could be likely Parise stays (A different post for a different day). He didn't mention Minnesota in there, but if you take into account what Cooper said (The Red Wings un-youthfulness and the Devils financial uncertainty), the Wild could be poised to land both. The team has many of their top prospects under contract beginning next season, and they have the willingness from owner Craig Leipold, to sign whoever Chuck Fletcher feels can best help this team win. Not many, if any, other teams can offer what the Wild could offer to Suter.
So after all of this, yes, the Wild do have a legit chance with signing Ryan Suter. But, it is no guarantee he makes it to July 1st. So lets hope he does...

(For those wishing to read the chat click here)

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