LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 21: Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations and General Manager David Poile of the Nashville Predators addresses the media at the 2011 NHL Awards nominee media availability at the Palms Casino Resort on June 21, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
You may have noticed, but I haven't written anything here in a long time. There have been varying reasons for this, for one, life just sometimes gets in the way. On other occasions, I just haven't had any inspiration.
To make this all relevant: every once in a while, something happens that drives you to write. Ryan Suter signing for the Minnesota Wild is one of those things.
I'm not mad at Ryan Suter. Given the choice between $90+ million dollars to play hockey in a city you're unfamilar with (Detroit), a city you've played in your entire pro career (Nashville), or the city closest to your home, and where your wife is from, which would you choose? I thought so. I'm certainly disappointed that we'll never see the Weber-to-Suter-switch-places-and back to Weber for a power play goal again, and I have no idea how they'll replace Suter's one man breakout skill, but I'll survive.
No, I'm mad at David Poile. Like, really mad, you guys. Angry enough to destroy all good grammar in the previous sentence. He had to know this was on its way. As Dirk has pointed out, the writing was on the wall for Suter to test the market this summer, and in all likelihood, sign elsewhere. He did, and the Predators are left with absolutely nothing to show for it but broken hearts, and in Poile's case, something that seems an awful lot like sour grapes.
Not only do the Preds have no assets to show for Ryan Suter's departure, but at this point, you would have to say the odds of Shea Weber signing long term are neglible at best. He's lost his running mate, and the most compelling moves Poile has made in an effort to convince his superstars to stay have been trading for Andrei Kostitsyn, luring back a flighty headcase, and overpaying Paul Gaustad. If that doesn't scream Stanley Cup contender to me, then I'm reasonably sure it doesn't to Shea Weber.
The point here is this: the Predators are handcuffed, and David Poile may have thrown away the key. As far as I can see, he has two choices. Poile can get uncharacteristically aggressive on the trade and free agent market, both improving the team and showing Weber that the drive to win the Cup is still there, or he can put up a for sale sign on the gold #6 in an attempt to get a king's ransom for an elite player in his walk year.
I don't know what's going to happen. My hope is that the Predators are able to acquire Matt Carle and a Bobby Ryan/Alex Semin type, thus making them better than when Suter still patrolled the blueline. That, however, is surely a pipe dream. I realize the tone of this rant is largely negative, but there's very little to suggest Nashville will do anything close to resembling a bold move.
Whatever goes down, it's time for David Poile to gird ye olde loins. His job ought to depend on it.