Originally posted on Fox Sports Tennessee  |  Last updated 7/4/12
The Nashville Predators have lost All-Star defenseman Ryan Suter to a fellow Western Conference team, as the 27-year-old reportedly has agreed to a 13-year, 98-million contract with the Minnesota Wild, owned by the man who once ushered the Predators into the NHL in 1998, Craig Leipold. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune first reported the news, which was confirmed by multiple other outlets. Suter, a native of Wisconsin whose wife is from Minnesota and would enjoy the low-key sensibilities of playing in the so-called "State of Hockey," reportedly will join former New Jersey left wing and captain Zach Parise, a Minnesota native, in the Twin Cities. The Wild's official Twitter address confirmed the news at about 11:40 Central Time. ESPN.com reported that Parise and Suter agreed to the identical deals, which will carry 7.5-million cap hits. Predators general manager David Poile said in a conference call that he learned the news from Suter. Poile said he told Suter, "I don't know why you're not re-signing with us and he told us it was for family reasons," Poile said. "That's where the disappointing part comes in.... I can't fight that or I can't argue with that. The disappointing part was that that was not what we talked about all year long. It's very, very disappointing." The players were the two biggest prizes on the free-agent market and Minnesota got them both. The Tennessean reported, citing an anonymous source, that the Preds' top offer was 13 years and 90 million -- a staggering sum for a player who is coming off a career season in which he ranked third in the NHL in average time on ice and finished eighth in the balloting for the Norris Trophy, which is given to the NHL's top defenseman. Last season was Suter's first as an All-Star. By comparison, Predators captain Shea Weber, a restricted free agent whose agent has said he wanted to wait for Suter to sign first before negotiating with the Predators, has finished as the runner-up for the Norris each of the last two seasons. Last season Weber played under a one-year contract worth 7.5 million. The Predators now have a major hole to fill on their top defense pair but have numerous options and plenty of cap room. Suter, drafted seventh overall in 2007 at the NHL Draft in Nashville, earned 3.5 million each of the last four seasons.
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