Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Rumblings: Ryan Suter, Rick Nash and more
By Pierre LeBrun
If Ryan Suter re-signs with the Nashville Predators, it’s only going to be after he’s had the chance to explore his options with other teams.
Predators GM David Poile understands that and is ready to be patient, which includes not trading away the rights to the UFA-to-be and, in the meantime, keeping the lines open with Suter’s agent, Neil Sheehy.
"It appears that Suter is going to go to July 1," Poile told ESPN.com Tuesday afternoon from Las Vegas. "I’m going to meet with Neil on Friday, and we’re going to talk again next week to see where we are. But it appears that’s where he’s heading. I’m keeping the faith. I don’t think I’m going to trade his rights. It’s all based on the fact that there’s no indication to me that Ryan doesn’t think Nashville is the right fit for him."
In the past, Poile has moved the rights to potential UFAs at this time of year, like Dan Hamhuis two years ago, and Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell in June 2007. But in those cases, Poile said it was clear from a financial point of view that the Predators could not re-sign those payers. This time around, he’s got the financial wherewithal to sign Suter, so he doesn’t want to cut bait at this point.
"I don’t know how it’s going to pan out, but we’re going to do the best we can to keep talking and keep believing that we’re the right choice," Poile said. "Hopefully, when he compares it to other teams July 1 and compares it to Nashville, what’s important to him in his life and for his family, I think we’re a real good fit on and off the ice. I don’t see where the grass is any greener."
Nash saga, part IIThe Rick Nash trade saga, part deux, is underway and will only heat up with Friday’s night’s first round of the draft on tap in Pittsburgh.
Most of the willing trade partners reaching out to Columbus will want to include their first-round pick in Friday’s draft as part of any deal for the star winger. But it’s not necessarily a done deal that Nash moves this week. If the Blue Jackets don’t get their multi-asset price met this week in Pittsburgh, they’re content waiting it out until Zach Parise decides his future the first week of July and perhaps capitalizing on teams that struck out on the New Jersey Devils captain and UFA-to-be.
The New York Rangers, once again, are in the thick of it for Nash, no surprise there after the trade talks the Blueshirts held with Columbus before the February trade deadline. Compounded with the Rangers’ inability to muster much offense in the playoffs despite a run to the conference finals, you understand the urgency in wanting to complete a deal for Nash.
The Philadelphia Flyers, a source told ESPN.com Tuesday, are also part of the "in" crowd when it comes to talks with Columbus on Nash. He’d be a great fit alongside Claude Giroux.
The San Jose Sharks have also circled back after talking to Columbus numerous times in February, but the asking price from the Blue Jackets at this point still begins with Sharks center Logan Couture, which again remains a non-starter for San Jose.
In all, five to 10 teams are believed to have some level of interest on Nash. I don’t believe the Boston Bruins are in the mix, by the way.
I reported a few weeks ago that the Carolina Hurricanes were keen on Pittsburgh’s Jordan Staal, and it doesn’t end there. The Hurricanes have also shown interest in Nash. They can’t do both, but they certainly have interest in dealing for one or the other.
Both the Penguins and Blue Jackets are aware that Carolina is willing to move its No. 8 pick in Friday’s first round of the draft in any deal. But contrary to some speculation that’s out there, there is zero chance the Hurricanes include Justin Faulk in any trade. Carolina views him as a franchise blueliner in the making, and he’s just not available. Period.
A reminder as well that Nash controls his fate to a large degree with a no-movement clause.
Goalie talkWith Tomas Vokoun landing in Pittsburgh, Tampa gambling on Anders Lindback (very much a worthy gamble in my opinion), and Josh Harding re-signing in Minnesota on Tuesday, the goalie options continue to shrink for teams looking for an upgrade there.
This should only help the Vancouver Canucks in trying to create a better marketplace for
Roberto Luongo and his massive contract.
I believe the Florida Panthers are among a short list of teams that have talked to the Canucks about Luongo, but there won’t be a deal there unless Vancouver is willing to take on a contract in return that helps Florida out payroll-wise.
Another goalie potentially out there is Jonathan Bernier of the Kings. Tampa had shown some interest earlier this season before instead opting to go with Lindback in last Friday’s trade.
The Kings aren’t in a hurry to move Bernier. If nobody steps up with a tangible offer this summer, they’re more than happy to keep him as a backup to Jonathan Quick for another year.
Some teams I’ve spoken with have a mixed opinion on the former first-round pick. Some believe he’s the real deal, others are concerned they haven’t seen enough yet to roll the dice on him being a No. 1 netminder. I believe Bernier has the goods to be a franchise goalie and, if I’m the Columbus Blue Jackets right now, I’m all over the Kings to get a hold of him.
Kings talks with StollAs I mentioned last week, the Stanley Cup champion Kings wanted to quickly jump on the Jarret Stoll contract talks, and they have. The versatile No. 3 center, who was terrific in the playoffs, turns UFA July 1. But contract talks have progressed over the past week, and there could be an agreement within a week’s time.
The Kings are also talking to fourth-line center Colin Fraser. Still to be determined is the fate of winger Dustin Penner, also UFA July 1.
Sharks' D-depthWith the addition of Brad Stuart, the Sharks are pretty deep on defense, and that’s the area from which it might deal if a trade comes along that makes sense for them.
The Sharks would like to strengthen themselves on the wing. With a blue line comprising Stuart, Dan Boyle, Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Douglas Murray, Justin Braun and Jason Demers, plus other top prospects ready to push from below within the organization, it makes sense that a player like Demers, for example, could be dangled in a possible deal for a winger.
Stuart on Monday agreed to a three-year deal worth $3.6 million a season with the Sharks, which is a bit less than what Detroit offered him in the Red Wings’ last-ditch effort to re-sign him. A source told ESPN.com that the Wings offered three-year and four-year deals both worth just north of $3.6 million. Stuart returned to San Jose for family reasons.