May 7, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter (20) in game five of the 2012 Western Conference semifinals at Jobing.com Arena. The Coyotes beat the Predators 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

Post Mortem IV: "Landing Spots for Ryan"

This is the post I didn’t want to write at all. But it’s a fact of life, we may be facing a team without reliable ol’ number twenty in gold. As of now, I give it a 25% chance he’s back. That’s pretty low. While inside Nashville is makes a ton of sense for him to return, Ryan clearly wants to see who else is out there. Frankly, there are some more desperate teams in line to back up the armored truck to Ryan Suter than Nashville is. He’s a rare commodity for more systems, whereas in Nashville there are FOUR prospects that can slide into his role, and eventually be about as good, maybe.

There is only one Shea Weber. He’s priority one. No exceptions or excuses on why the captain isn’t in Nashville next year.

So with that, let us face the long dark hallway that is the question of…

WHERE WILL RYAN SUTER LAND?

Below listed will be a chance of where he will sign in a percentage, and a rating of 1-10 in how much actual sense it makes for Suter given hockey reasons, off-ice reasons, winning vs. rebuilding teams, and money. Then, we’ll belittle that possible decision with some negatives. None of this is scientific. It’s Predlines, folks. Speculation and reaction is our game. The remaining 5% is reserved for Florida, and Philly, New York, and other teams that can manipulate the cap better than I’ll ever understand.

And screw it, let’s start with the worst possible spot for most of you reading this blog.

Detroit Red Wings
Chance he signs: 35%
How much sense does this make: 4.5

It’s no secret that the Wings NEED Suter more than before, especially since Lidstrom retired. Detroit has cap room, and he’ll easily be the best defender on their team. Detroit has some decent prospects in their system, but will largely look to replenish the ranks through free agency, again. Even if they were to snag Parise and Suter, there are some realities that will take more than a season to overcome:

  • They’re old.
  • They’re not as deep as the teams they’re competing with in their division (Here comes Chicago, again. You watch.)
  • While revenue is nice now, there’s a building problem in Detroit… the building. Mike Ilitch may have a problem bigger than his crummy pizza before too long, and the city won’t be able to help him. *plays violin*
  • If Suter wants to play the rest of his career where he signs this contract… this won’t be fun.
  • It’s Detroit.

While it’s the easy choice for pundits, Detroit doesn’t make near the sense that warrants most of the acclaim. It’s a solid choice, but not the wisest. However, no one will be more desperate for Suter than Detroit.

Carolina Hurricanes
Chance he signs: 15%
How much sense does this make: 8.0

Don’t look now, but Carolina is a Staal brother away from really ruining lives in the East. It’s not the frenzied media market that is most places in the East, there’s goal scoring talent a plenty, a money goaltender, and other defenders to support him in Joni Pitkanen, Tim Gleason, Jamie McBain, and Justin Faulk. That’s a very good top-4 compared to much of the league, and Suter makes them a defensive force. They have the cap room too. And unlike Detroit, their window is about to open again for contention. There aren’t many reasons this doesn’t make sense other than:

  • It’s in the East.
  • It’s further away from his off-season home, if that means anything.
  • He won’t be “the man”. If that didn’t matter to him, why did he not sign after Weber was injured? He wants to win, and be the man. Nothing wrong with that. But this is Eric Staal’s team.

That’s a short list of reasons why not. Carolina makes more hockey sense than about anyone, and it’s Ryan’s kind of town. It is more “country” than Nashville, and in an easier division. Having Tim Gleason and Pitkanen playing alongside you, that doesn’t suck.

Minnesota Wild
Chance he signs: 12%
How much sense does this make: 1.5

It’s close to home. That’s about all I can say positively about this situation. They’ll make a bigger play for Zach Parise, but their real need is defense. Their roster is in more of a state of flux than Nashville’s, with half the talent on the blueline. When Tom Gilbert is your best option, Suter can expect an even heavier workload.

  • If Suter leaves Nashville, he’ll be expecting to go to a winner. This category doesn’t include the Wild.
  • How long of a rebuilding do the Wild plan on doing? Are they now rebuilding? No one can honestly say.

This would’ve made more sense if the Heatley and Setoguchi deals actually worked. But they were terrible last year. And after trading Burns off, they’re simply put… screwed. *plays bigger violin for Mr. Leipold*

Dallas Stars
Chance he signs: 18%
How much sense does this make: 7.5

How close are the Stars to making a run? Close. They’re big, play the boards well, get solid but inconsistent at times goaltending (but the system is DEEP), and have size on the blueline. Ryan isn’t the best offensive defenseman, but he would be awarded some new opportunities playing with Alex Goligoski and Stephane Robidas. With Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson, the ceiling is high for this team in the coming years, especially if Kari, Bachmann, or even Jack Campbell can play some light-out goaltending that’s all the rage these days.

  • There aren’t many detracting factors in Dallas, other than new ownership…
  • …and being in one tough division, whether re-alignment happens or not.

But it’s Texas. It makes sense for Suter as a human being. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see him land here.

Nashville Predators
Chance he signs: 25%
How much sense does this make: 8.5

It’s the best team on the list, and the best core of players (unless Suter makes a run to Carolina, then they’ll overtake Nashville in a year or two), it’s the best fit as far as system and development. Plus, he’ll have the best partner for him in the incomparable Shea Weber. He’s already here. The goalie is locked up long term. The forward depth is still growing, and the defensemen depth is still there. Aside from Detroit, no one will be more desperate for his services. (Though the Wild should be)

  • But it’s still Nashville, a team that has ZERO banners for anything worth while.
  • He’s been here for years, and may be getting tired of the near misses OR doesn’t believe in the direction anymore.
  • Perhaps he wants to be the top defender, and be slotted with a stay-at-home defender instead of being that guy for Shea.

There’s a chance that Shea and Ryan could grow to be the best pairing ever. That’s a legitimate claim within reach, especially if the rest of the team continues to catch up to their level. If he doesn’t sign, the Preds will promote from within and address the offense and bring back Hal Gill. I would like to see Ryan back, but after this saga… it won’t make me cry like I thought it would. Unless he goes to Detroit.

Then, we have a right to be angry.

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Tags: Barry Trotz Carolina Hurricanes Dallas Stars Detroit Red Wings Jonathon Blum Martin Erat Minnesota Wild Nashville Predators NHL Pekka Rinne Roman Josi Ryan Ellis Ryan Suter Shea Weber

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