Found April 23, 2012 on
Fox Sports Tennessee:
If the Nashville Predators spent the last 13 seasons chasing the Detroit Red Wings which they did what does it mean now that they have finally caught them?
More specifically, what does it mean to their efforts to try and re-sign All-Star defenseman Ryan Suter and what does the series victory mean to Suter?
In exactly two months and one week Suter will hit the open market if the Preds have not re-signed him. With Nashville awaiting its opponent in the Western Conference Quarterfinals either Chicago or Phoenix after eliminating the Red Wings in five games, Suter ranks seventh in the playoffs in average time on ice per game at 27:42 and was a huge part of that effort. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock referred to him as one of the Preds' three "franchise" players, along with fellow All-Star defenseman Shea Weber and goalie Pekka Rinne, after the final game.
It seems that the central conversation to the contract negotiation with Suter has not been dollars and cents but more a question about the team's ability to compete at the highest level.
"We have a lot of good players in our room," Suter told ESPN.com at the All-Star Game in Ottawa. "Not saying you gotta go out and get a big-name guy -- just the right piece.
"I want to help our team win the Stanley Cup and being in a place that we can go get more players and the pieces we need to help us win."
In the ensuing weeks after those comments, Nashville did exactly that. On the final day before the trading deadline expired, the Preds picked up wing Andrei Kostitsyn and checking center Paul Gaustad, who won 55.2 percent of his faceoffs in the first round against Detroit. Kostitsyn tied for fifth on the team with two points in the very low-scoring series and, significantly, finished plus-2.
Nashville's depth was such that the Preds were able to win without defenseman Hal Gill, arguably their most important pre-deadline pick-up, as a lower-body injury sidelined Gill. And, of course, wing Alex Radulov, whom the team finally persuaded to rejoin it after four seasons in the KHL, led the series in points with five. His plusminus rating of plus-5 also ranks among the best in the Stanley Cup Playoffs right now.
The trick, however, is that those four players all are, like Suter, pending free agents. Gill, Gaustad and Kostitsyn are unrestricted while Radulov is restricted. (Weber also is restricted, but, unlike Radulov, he would not appear a threat to play in the Russia next season if he and the Preds cannot agree to a long-term deal.)
Predators general manager David Poile acknowledged on Monday that much of the future hinges on which free agents the team can re-sign.
"I really like our team," he said in a conversation discussing team-building, generally. "I think we could have a four- or five-year plan, but that will change based on who signs and doesn't sign."
Right now, it's hard not to like the Preds' team. After Detroit was eliminated on Friday, Babcock discussed how Nashville was deeper and despite the fact that three of the Preds' four wins came by one goal, Babcock expressed his opinion that the series was "not close." Considering that Detroit has a much higher payroll than Nashville, that's significant.
Asked what he would have thought if he were told before the series that the Preds would win in five games, Suter expressed confidence in his team.
"Well, I mean, we've got a good group of guys here," he said.
It remains early in the playoffs, but things are looking up for the Preds. With the exception of St. Louis, they finished with more points than all of the teams remaining in the West. While the Blues won the Central Division, in head-to-head competition, the Preds went 4-1-1 against the Blues.
If the Preds win the next round, will that satisfy Suter? If they advance to the Stanley Cup final? Or is it more about long-term success?
Poile pointed out that Nashville has made the playoffs seven of eight seasons now. Other than Detroit and New Jersey combined winners of the Cup seven times starting in 1995 few other franchises can match that record.
When Suter spoke at the All-Star Game, his comments were mostly about how he did not want to re-sign until after the season had ended.
"We've never had a timeline or deadline," he said. "We're just focusing on winning. Everything else will take care of itself."
For the second straight season, Nashville has advanced to the second round, so the Preds are indeed winning. The question regarding Suter is whether it's enough yet.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The Nashville Predators’ General Manager, David Poile, has been nominated for the General Manager of the Year Award for the third consecutive season. Poile has been nominated every year of the award’s existence and is the only general manager to accomplish that feat.
(Photo: Nashville Predators)
“It is a tremendous honor. I say that because the voting is done by the other 29...
During the NHL postseason, players of all positions need to step up and help out their teams in order for any particular squad to make it all the way to the fourth round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. One of the surprise performances for the Nashville Predators during the first round series against the Detroit Red Wings was the play of rookie Gabriel Bourque.
During the five-game series...
The Nashville Predators took a day off on Saturday after being the first team to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. on Sunday, the Predators were back on the ice for practice at Bridgestone Arena.
Nashville works on remaining focused until the second round starts
“We haven’t accomplished anything, yet. We have a lot of work left to do. We have to make sure...
Any team is happy to find one franchise player to build around. Detroit coach Mike Babcock looks at the Nashville Predators and sees three: goaltender Pekka Rinne, defensemen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter.
The trio reflects the Predators' approach of building a team from the net out. Rinne, Weber and Sutter are a key reason Nashville will be playing in the second round of the Western...
It comes as no surprise that Nashville Predators' General Manager David Poile was nominated as a finalist for the NHL GM of the Year.This is the third year that Poile has been nominated for the yet un-named trophy and he is yet to win it. Two seasons ago he lost to Phoenix GM Don Maloney who brought the Coyotes out or rubble and took them to the playoffs. Last season Vancouver...
Coach Barry Trotz is trying to mix time on the ice with some much-needed rest for his Predators, looking to avoid any rust or letdown for the first NHL team to advance out of the opening round of the playoffs.
Trotz had his Predators back on the ice Sunday. They will practice again Monday, then take Tuesday off before returning to practice Wednesday.
Nashville's challenge is...
Schedule Game 1 - Predators at Coyotes, Jobing.com ArenaGame 2 - Predators at Coyotes, Jobing.com Arena Game 3 - Coyotes at Predators, Bridgestone ArenaGame 4 - Coyotes at Predators, Bridgestone Arena Game 5 - Predators at Coyotes, Jobing.com Arena, (if necessarily)Game 6 - Coyotes at Predators, Bridgestone Arena, (if necessarily)Game 7 - Predators at Coyotes, Jobing.com Arena...
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Predators coach Barry Trotz never wants to leave. Neither does general manager David Poile, who says he has a "comfortable" working relationship with his coach.
Their relationship certainly is productive.
The only men to hold these jobs with Nashville have survived the growing pains of building a franchise and have put the Predators in their strongest...
NEW YORK (April 24, 2012) — Doug Armstrong of the St. Louis Blues, David Poile of the Nashville Predators and Dale Tallon of the Florida Panthers are the three finalists for the 2011-12 NHL General Manager of the Year Award, the National Hockey League announced today.
Voting for this award was conducted among the 30 Club General Managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and...
The Western Conference match-ups are set for the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Nashville Predators will face the Phoenix Coyotes and the St. Louis Blues will take on the Los Angeles Kings.
Both Nashville and Phoenix won twice in their four-game season series, but the Coyotes came out on top because one of the contests that the Predators won was decided in a shootout...
Via the Nashville Predators, we’ve received news about Predators GM David Poile being nominated for the GM of the Year award. For being nominated 3 years in a row, it would be a shame if he doesn’t win it in my opinion. Below is the full press release:
“NEW YORK (April 24, 2012) — Doug Armstrong of the St. Louis Blues, David Poile of the Nashville Predators and Dale Tallon...
Our Western Conference Semifinals break down of the #3 Phoenix Coyotes vs the #4 Nashville Predators
Who’s better? OFFENSE - NASHVILLE
If you’re breaking this down by statistics so far out of the first round results, it would be a near push between both of these teams.
Nashville man-handled a veteran Detroit team who had a ton of offensive talent up-front, good defense...
from John Manasso of FoxSports Tennessee, These days, a somewhat typical Detroit player is speedy wing Valtteri Filppula. The Finn had 23 goals in the regular season and 66 points – more than any member of the Preds—but he did not score during the playoffs and had only two assists. That’s because during the playoffs, it gets harder to score and as Babcock emphasized during...
As Monday dawns, the Nashville Predators know a few things. They know that they will play either the Chicago Blackhawks or the Phoenix Coyotes. They know they can game plan now. They also know they will not play for at least a few more days.
The concern now is the age old playoff question, when does rest turn to rust? In a recurring theme of this yearâs playoffs, the...