Ryan Suter put the ball in the court of Nashville Predators general manager David Poile last week, when he told the media that he would not be signing a new contract extension by the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 27. Since making those comments, Suter backtracked a bit, claiming the media misconstrued what he intended to say.
"I never said that [test the open market] and I don't want to right now," Suter said. "I want to focus on playing for Nashville. We've got a good team and if we can add a couple of pieces here and there I think we have a legitimate chance of going to win the Stanley Cup."
Still, by saying that he doesn't want to have his contract status decided by the deadline, Suter is making things mighty interesting when it comes to Poile's decision. The GM has to make the call -- trade him at the deadline, or hold on to the prized defenseman after the deadline in hopes that an agreement could be made by July 1?
It seems that, perhaps, Poile has already made that decision. Via the Philadelphia Daily News, covering the story from the Flyers perspective, one of the teams that is certainly interested in acquiring Suter's services:
"The consensus among us is that Nashville will be hanging onto him, even if they know the odds are not in their favor of re-signing him," one Eastern Conference GM told the Daily News on condition of anonymity. "If he does decide to trade him, [David] Poile has the market cornered. There are very few defensemen of Suter's caliber in the league and Nashville has two of them.
"You have to wonder whether the Predators can continue to trade away their top players for prospects because they can't afford to pay them."
For more on the Predators and the rumors surrounding Ryan Suter at the 2012 NHL trade deadline, check in with our blog, On the Forecheck. Stick with this StoryStream for all the latest news surrounding the 2012 deadline.