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Predators hope busy deadline wins over Suter, Weber

Feb 27, 2012, 9:56 PM EDT

Suter and Weber Getty Images

When “Moneyball” hit theaters and somehow translated a great but niche book into a big-time money maker, it was hard for hockey people to avoid comparing the Nashville Predators to the Oakland A’s of those days.

The crux of Billy Beane’s radical re-thinking of that franchise revolved around finding a new way to do business after the loss of stars like Jason Giambi, but Predators GM David Poile is taking a different approach. Instead of accepting life as a smaller market hockey team that needs to scrap year after year, the humble old Predators are pushing all their chips to the middle of the table this time around.

Poile doesn’t want to see his slugger Shea Weber or fellow defensive stud Ryan Suter go, so the Predators tried to “court” the duo with a bevy of moves. Poile wasn’t trying to play coy about his motives, either, as you can see in this article.

“Obviously, we hope the moves today show Ryan and all of the players on our team that the ownership is committed,” Poile said. “We’ve had plenty of talks with Ryan and it’s been unfortunate that our — I think we’ve done a good job here in Nashville of building our team and the franchise and you can see the building’s getting more full on a regular basis, but unfortunately, from a budgetary situation we’ve had to let some of our better players go from time to time.

“Hopefully, we can stop that. Obviously, signing Ryan Suter would be a huge sign for our whole franchise and our fans … that those days are over and, hopefully, a good playoff run will get Ryan signed up.”

No doubt about it, this isn’t the measured approach usually displayed by Poile. Sure, they’ve gone bold before with the ill-fated Peter Forsberg trade, but that was still a rental. Everything about this run feels different; the big contract for Pekka Rinne, a heavy cost for Paul Gaustad and other stakes-raising moves show that the Predators aren’t going to sit idly by.

Of course, the flip side is that if Suter leaves anyway, Poile & Co. must clean up that mess with a deficit in picks and some prospects. Honestly, I’m not so sure that breaking from the franchise’s script is the best idea, but it’s hard to blame Poile for his urge to pause the cycle of growth and loss.

What do you think, then? Are these gambles worth it or will these acts of desperation come back to haunt them?

  1. danphipps01 - Feb 27, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    Difference between past and present is, they just came out of their deepest playoff run ever, in which they actually managed to beat the second-best team in the League twice and make a legitimate battle out of a series at least some people thought would be a rout. Suter, Weber, and the team as a whole can actually BELIEVE they can win now. This isn’t like Columbus’ same-old same-old narrative about rebuilds and competitive rosters. They’ve actually seen results. They know it’s actually possible, and this season has really shown how hungry they’ve gotten for glory. They’ve had an amazing year marred only by the fact that everyone else in the Central Division is streaking too. These are players who actually believe in their franchise and its ability to actually go the whole distance. Now’s not the time for conservatism and budgetary cutbacks. Now’s the time to put money on the line and capitalize on the hope and confidence of both the players and the fans. No-one really believed the Predators could contend last year. The same is not true now. That’s why these moves make sense this time around.

    Not saying they’ll win, mind – but it’s a hell of a lot less implausible than it was even twelve months ago.

    • danphipps01 - Feb 27, 2012 at 10:27 PM

      There are fully double the number of “actually”s in that post that I intended there to be. D:

  2. bluesrawesome - Feb 27, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    Nashville has a hell of a team this year and they are a serious contender this year. Nashville didn’t really give up on their future as they have drafted so well that they have some great prospects.

  3. gbiscottagecheesefatties - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:26 AM

    I just don’t see them being able to keep both. Suter goes to the highest bidder, I’ll say it…. Minnesota

    • danphipps01 - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:37 AM

      If Suter doesn’t think he’s on a contender now, Lord knows he’s not going to downgrade. Detroit would be able to make him the salary offer he wants and they’d gladly dump a couple 2nd-rounders or some such thing for his negotiation rights in the offseason. Another prime contender in my mind is the Blues, who would also be able to swing it quite comfortably. Sure, Minnesota COULD, but why go to the Wild when you’ve got real contenders who’ll make similar offers?

      • gbiscottagecheesefatties - Feb 28, 2012 at 9:41 AM

        wait? What rights do the preds have on Suter ? Isn’t he a UFA.

        that’s why I said highest bidder, not best trade. Suter is gone

      • imacdane - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:10 AM

        He’s not a UFA until July. They can trade for his rights and be able to negotiate a deal with him exclusively, before other teams get an opportunity.

  4. pavelfitzgerald - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:34 AM

    Even if you don’t like what he’s done you have to respect it. Poile’s been money with a limited bankroll. He’s stocked with prospects, only traded a few draft picks & is making a valid case for Suter to stay. If he can convince Suter to stay, it’ll be easier to convince Weber to stay long term too. Poile’s got this

    • danphipps01 - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:39 AM

      The Poile-Trotz combination is one of the best in the NHL, up there with Shero-Bylsma and Holland-Babcock. They’re both excellent at their jobs, all the more so given their financial limitations and the fact that they’ve had to face an uphill battle building this team.

  5. broadstbully33 - Feb 28, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    1st rounder for gaustad……wow!!!! desperate much

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