Friday afternoon notes: Ryan Suter Turns Up The Heat On David Poile

NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 23: Antoine Vermette #50 of the Columbus Blue Jackets fights for the puck with Ryan Suter #20 of the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena on January 23, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter set fans buzzing on Twitter this afternoon with a statement echoed by multiple members of the media assembled in Ottawa for the All-Star Game:

Ryan Suter just said during his media availability that he doesn't think he'll sign before trade deadline... Feel it would be distraction.. But I would also say Suter sounded like a guy who loves it in Nashville and will give the Preds very much a fair chance before July 1

--- ESPN's Pierre LeBrun

Simply put, the notion that signing a contract extension now would be a "distraction" is absurd. Instead, we've got a pretty large distraction which won't go away any time soon.

Instead, we have Suter breaking this bit of news on a day with pretty much nothing else going on, in front of hockey reporters from all across North America. He could have said this last week, or last month to one of the local reporters. Instead, he does it in a setting which screams "showcase" (and let's be clear, I don't blame Suter one bit - he's worked his way into a dream scenario).

For general manager David Poile, the clock is ticking. Does he hold on to Suter and continue to hope that he'll agree to an extension before July 1, risking the loss of an All-Star defenseman for nothing in return? That's the direction his public statements have leaned toward most recently, presumably fueled by the team's 18-5-0 record of late.

The alternative would be to open the bidding and trade Suter to a contender over the next several weeks, extracting as much as possible in prospects and picks to keep the team on a long-term upward path. Recall Poile's words to Josh Cooper from January 9:

"Our first and foremost goal is to sign Ryan. We've been trying to do that all season long. I've not accomplished that to this point, but we're hoping to continue discussions and get that done at some point. We'll be prepared, if we feel that we weren't going to be able to sign Ryan, and if we thought we were in a position that we had to or should trade him. I'm certainly hoping that doesn't happen, I don't want that to happen, but I want to be prepared for that."

Based on what Suter is saying today, does that make you more or less confident that he'll re-sign with Nashville? Recall that Suter's statement comes just 2 days after all this discussion of the Preds "stepping up their efforts" to get Ryan signed. If Poile waits until after the season to come to a "no" decision on this point, anything he'll get back in trade will be paltry compared to what he could land in the next few weeks.

It's a tremendous gamble, and not one any of us would want to be in the position to make. Ponder that while surfing through your afternoon notes...

UPDATE: For more on the Ryan Suter situation, listen in as Craig Custance joined The Sports Revolution on 102.5 The Game this afternoon:

Craig Custance on 1025 2012-01-27 (mp3)

The Preds have 7 home games in February - save money on tickets with the OTF Discount!

Nashville Predators News

Smashville 24/7: Smashville On The Glass - Preds contending for Central
Is it time to raise expectations on what this team can do in the regular season?

Preds On The Glass: Updated Odds for the NHL Stanley Cup from Lake Tahoe
The Preds at 28/1? I'd take those odds.

Paul McCann - Wants and Needs
It seems like there's a pretty good consensus growing on what the Preds could use for a playoff run.

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

The NHL is becoming a crazy business - The Globe and Mail
Eric Duhatschek's weekly notes touch on a number of high-priced player signings which haven't produced expected results.

DREGER'S MAILBAG: QUESTIONS ON WINGS, HABS AND CANUCKS - TSN
Always good stuff from one of the legit "insiders" in the business.

Ranking the NHL's GM/coach combos - CSNPhilly.com
The Predators rank pretty high here, naturally.

The Historic Central Division Race | Hooked On Hockey Magazine
Could the race for the Central be one of the best in NHL history? (found at Puck Daddy)

Talking with Advanced Hockey Stats - The Score
Funny stuff here between the new and old way of looking at things.

Councillor: Glendale flirting with financial disaster over Coyotes - The Globe and Mail
The thorny mess in the desert continues...

Red Light District Hockey: Nabokov deserving of longer stay on Long Island
What did he do to deserve such punishment?

Sexism and the All-Star Fantasy Draft | The LeafsNation
I'm sorry, but this is over-the-top stupid.

The Franchise of Theseus: A Rant on Relocations - Backhand Shelf
Not just satisfied with having an NHL team back in Winnipeg, this writer wants them to claim the Jets franchise history from Phoenix.

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