With less than three weeks to go before the NHL trade deadline, one of the biggest names rumoured to be on the block is Nashville Predators defenceman Ryan Suter.
“I don’t want to shut the door (on a trade), but I can’t see us being successful without Ryan (Suter) in first our quest to make the playoffs and obviously to win in the playoffs,” Predators general manager David Poile told HOCKEY CENTRAL at Noon on Tuesday. “Our goal is to sign him … As a manager you can’t deal in absolutes. The landscape changes every day with your wins and losses and injuries.”
Many believe with goaltender Pekka Rinne’s salary cap hit of $7 million and the team’s need to re-sign their captain Shea Weber, the Predators wouldn’t be able to extend the American defenceman without being over the salary cap.
Poile disagrees and says it would just mean that the Predators would be a cap team, something the owners are willing to become if it means a more successful franchise.
“We’ve always been one of the lowest spending teams in the NHL, but our owners have got their arms totally around the fact to pay Pekka Rinne $7 million, to pay Weber ($7.5 million), and fill in the blank on what you think it will cost to sign Suter, you add up all of our salaries and we’re going to be a cap team next year,” Poile explained.
Currently the Predators have a payroll of just under $50 million, which leaves over $14 million in cap space. Suter makes $3.5 million in 2011-12 but his salary is expected to about double next year.
Poile said the Wisconsin native’s contract situation is making things somewhat difficult and what he does leading up to the trade deadline will ultimately be affected by Suter’s decision.
“My aggressiveness to make changes between now and Feb. 27 could take on salary, could take on rental players, could give up future (draft picks and prospects), it all probably makes sense if (Ryan) Suter is signed,” Poile said. “If Ryan leaves here on July 1, maybe a lot of those things I was going to do wouldn’t make a lot of sense in the long run.”
The 27-year-old stated he does not want to negotiate a new contract during the season and plans on testing the free agent market.
The Predators are 12-3 in 2012 and currently sit in fourth place in the Western Conference. On Tuesday they host the Vancouver Canucks, another team in the process of deciding what to do with a key member of their team.
Gillis say Schneider will likely stay put
Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis was also a guest on HOCKEY CENTRAL at Noon Tuesday and addressed where the team stands on the possibility of trading goaltender Cory Schneider.
“We’ve gotten calls about him for two years,” Gillis said. “There were times where we thought about (trading him), but we knew how good he was and I think he’s now proven to other people around the hockey world how good he is.”
Schneider has split time with Roberto Luongo this season and Gillis admits a difficult decision on which goalie to keep could be in his future.
“There’s going to come a point where we’re going to have to make a decision as we move forward,” Gillis said.
The Canucks GM still has no intention of dealing Schneider before the trade deadline, unless of course something occurs where the team was blown away with an offer.
“You never say never about anything, but this guy’s a huge part of our team and to take a huge part of your team off you team with a month left in the season and then playoffs is a challenging thing to do,” Gillis added.