After months of speculation and rumors Ryan Suter has ended is 9 year tenure as a member of the Predators organization and is taking his talents to the land of 10,000 lakes (Let the Lebron James jokes begin!). Joining up with fellow American free agent and product of the talent rich 2003 NHL Draft Zach Parise to complement
an unproven a skilled group of prospects Suter and Parise look to take the Minnesota North Stars Wild to the next level (And by next level I mean #6 seed). While we wish Ryan the best we’re here to talk about the players that remain on the roster and where the team goes from here. (Beside the Wild will be fine, Minnesota has never had a team up and leave to a Sun Belt city)
Right now Poille’s primary objective will be to convince Shea Weber to sign a long-term extension to keep him in the Music City and prevent a repeat of the Suter situation. To do that the Preds must find a complementary, lefty shooting defenseman either through free agency (Matt Carle) or via trade (Paul Martin,
Jay Bouwmeester) to fill the void left by #20’s departure. It’s impossible to replace a player like Suter, but the right acquisition coupled with youngsters such as Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi stepping up and taking their games to the next level he can be replaced collectively and the drop off in production will not be as noticeable and the team can maintain its high level of play that has become the status quo. To quote Trotzy: “This is now Pekka Rinne and Shea Weber’s team” that being said having a goalie like RInne in the fold for the next 7 years gives the Preds a certainty most teams in the league don’t have.
If Poille cannot convince Weber to stay and his departure becomes inevitable it is then up to Poille to find a way to get the most assets back and try to completely rebuild and reshape this team. However let’s be positive and assume Shea wants to stay and an extension can be worked out. In the meantime just be grateful when the first blizzard that drops five feet of snow hits Minneapolis/St. Paul you don’t have to shovel it, drive in it, or deal with it unlike a certain University of Wiconsin alum.