Ryan Suter left for nothing. We can (and will) speculate about what a player of his calibre could have brought in return. A top line forward? A top six with a prospect and a pick? Multiple prospects and picks?
Should any of the above options proved successful, assuming this top line forward was signed to a multiple year contract and wasn't able to jump ship shortly thereafter, the Predators still would have been a few pieces away from being a true contender. One star on a team full of third and fourth liners really can't do it on his own. Not to mention the vastly weakened D. Trading Ryan Suter for the top line forward we so desperately need would not have magically taken away the rest of their needs, he would not have brought in a new system with him, nor would he take them to the Promised Land. But something is better than nothing, and the Predators would have been a better team in the fall of 2012, and the years after.
Instead, the Predators sucked. For two years they have sucked. Their suckiness brought in Seth Jones. It brought in two exciting prospects, and got rid of two veterans whose careers are only going to decline. It made the fans angry, finally, and started the wheels rolling on the Fire Trotz wagon, and likely the end of an era, the end of which has been quite painful to watch. It will likely bring in a new era, a new culture, and that is exciting. It will bring us another top 10 draft pick.
If Suter was traded, we'd still be that team that is good, but not good enough. We'd brag about making the playoffs yet again, only to get knocked out in the first, or possibly second round. What we wouldn't have, is what we needed, a new direction. Which is the culmination of that terrible decision by David Poile three years ago to let Suter walk for nothing. Maybe it's that terrible decision that will turn this franchise around.