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UFA spotlight — Ryan Suter

Jun 25, 2012, 12:20 PM EDT

Nashville Predators v Phoenix Coyotes Getty Images

All week leading up to Sunday, July 1, we’ll be profiling unrestricted free agents and speculating where they might end up.

Ryan Suter (D)

Age: 27

2011-12 cap hit: $3.5 million

The skinny:

Detroit, Minnesota and Pittsburgh are probably the three favorite landing spots. It’s still possible Suter could end up back in Nashville, though most believe he’s ready to move on. We probably shouldn’t count out Philadelphia either, despite one report he’s not interested in becoming a Flyer and wants to play in the Midwest.

On paper, the Red Wings are the perfect fit. They just lost Nicklas Lidstrom, they’ve got a ton of cap space, they’re a perennial Stanley Cup contender with deep pockets, and they’re geographically close to Suter’s family in Wisconsin.

Of course, Minnesota is close to Wisconsin, too, and Wild GM Chuck Fletcher badly needs to upgrade his defense. Fletcher is also expected to push hard to sign Zach Parise, a Minnesota native and longtime friend of Suter. If he can land one, maybe he can land the other.

The Penguins weren’t really in the conversation until Jordan Staal and Zbynek Michalek were traded at the draft, freeing up cap space to potentially make a run at Suter and Parise. If Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero can unload Paul Martin as well, there could be room for both.

  1. mclovinhockey - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    If you count the flyers out from that article you can count out the pens… Well the entire east since all it said was he wants to be in the west.

  2. finfan88shark - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    You can count out the Sharks too. Doug Wilson only goes after cheap short term solutions.

  3. napoleonblownapart6887 - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    I don’t know much about Suter as a man, but if memory serves I read somewhere that he wasn’t looking to go somewhere where he’ll be the center of a media circus/scrutiny. With that in mind, would there be anything more difficult than trying to be the replacement for Lidstrom?

    • vockeea - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:02 PM

      I don’t think “replacing” Lidstrom should be a legitimate concern for him. Most level headed people realize Lidstrom cannot be replaced by just one person. More of a replacement by committee sort of deal. The Wings have enough star power through their lineup, where scrutiny can’t solely focus on Suter failing to live up to expectations or whatever the media chooses to gripe about. Detroit is notorious for taking care of their players, and usually do a good job of keeping the media off their back.

    • polegojim - Jun 25, 2012 at 10:53 PM

      Cmon man… NOBODY replaces Lidstrom.

      Nobody in Detroit would even be thinking that – love to have them both.

  4. florida76 - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Detroit has a number of issues which may dissuade Suter from going there. First, the lineup is aging, and the most talented players are well over 30. Second, the pressure to replace Lidstrom will indeed be intense, from the fans and media. Third, is Detroit a serious Cup contender with the age, and a goalie who’s never performed at that level? Fourth, Joe Louis Arena is a decaying facility located in one of the highest areas of crime in the nation.

    No one knows where Suter will end up, but Detroit clearly is not as attractive as it was a few years ago.

    • pajabroni - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      I know there is this perception that the Red Wings are aged, but if you check the stats, you can see that they in fact are not an old bunch anymore. Within the last couple years they have infused a lot of younger talent. If I’m not mistaken, they are less than a year older than the Media darling Penguins.

      • bmscalise - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:50 PM

        This is a straw-man argument. The average age of the Pens may be close to the average age of the Wings, but the Wings’ best players are certainly aging.

        When the season starts, Sid will be 25, Geno 26, Neal 25, Letang 25, and now the Pens have a 23-year-old Sutter. The over 30 guys – Cooke, Park, Sullivan, Dupuis – are almost all filler pieces that come and go. Even our defensemen in their early 30s, like Orpik and Martin, will get replaced by a slew of 1st and 2nd round draft picks when their contracts are up – if not earlier. Even if all of Despres, Morrow, Harrington, Maatta, Pouliot, and Dumoulin don’t all work out, others will lead the defense for years.

        When the season starts, Lidstrom will be gone, Datsyuk will be 34, Zetterberg 32, Kronwall 31 going on 32, Franzen going on 33, etc. The Wings have some useful younger plays – but there’s no way you convince me that are as good as these guys on the back ends of their careers. And they just gave up their first round pick. Zetterberg already doesn’t look close to the player he was during the Wings cup runs. And if I’m signing a long term contract of 5-10 years – the age of all these guys would absolutely be a huge concern.

        If the Wings landed BOTH Parise and Suter, they might be a contender for a couple more years. But I don’t expect any team to land both of them. The Pens will be a contender even if they don’t land either.

    • hockeyrebel - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:56 PM

      Can anyone counts how many years the pseudo hockey fan has claimed that the Wings are old and can’t be contenders? I remember it going all the way back to the 90s.

      Even after they proved this untrue by winning a cup we all heard the next year how they can’t content but wait, they play Pittsburgh in the finals!

      Obviously this person, Florida76, has never been to a game at the Joe. Sure Detroit has crime like so many large cities but I’ve been there for many a game and have never had any incidents or fear about being down there.

      Also, hasn’t Howard proved himself to be a pretty darn good goalie….. What is attractive about the Wings is that they are the organization everyone wants to be like, the organization everyone copies, the organization that has an incredible farm system and develops players better than anyone else out there.

      Know what you’re talking about before you open your mouth.

      • zaksyuk - Jun 25, 2012 at 7:07 PM

        True that bro i dont know how many times a year we in detroit hear “and the redwings have been this teams measuring stick” that ones from nashvilles coach. OR “we modeled our team like the redwings” thats vancouvers gm. OR “we knew logan coture was ready for the nhl after seeing how he did against datsyuk”. the morale of this story is why do people hate us so much?

    • polegojim - Jun 25, 2012 at 10:51 PM

      Wow… Red Wings are getting YOUNGER year by year and the Pens are ONE year younger, ave.

      Detroit is reloading and remains VERY attractive.

      Nice try though.

  5. vokounviolatesvirginvag - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    nobody wants to play in philthy for once. and once ray shero locks both of these gamechangers up suter and parise, the franchise will be in full throttle punching your grandmothers in the mouth.

  6. GenoPringles - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Just start calling these articles Soupcan Army Spotlight. We all know that if players want to win cups they will sign with the franchise. Name another team where you can step on ice with the 2 best players in the world. The Army is getting stronger!!

  7. tigers182 - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Florida – so Detroit didn’t have an older stadium and high crime rate a few years ago? Name me 1 player in all of sports who decided not to play for a team because of their stadiums age. Also all metropolitan cities have high crime rate; how many players live in the actual city of the team they play for? They don’t, they live in the suburbs, which cities surrounding Detroit are among the most beautiful in the country. Other Detroit teams haven’t had issues bringing in free agents. Lame, stereotypical arguments. Keep trying…

    • somekat - Jun 25, 2012 at 6:02 PM

      Back in the days of verteran stadium, players routinely said they did not want to come to Philly because they didn’t want to play half of their games on that surface. Football and Baseball

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jun 25, 2012 at 11:53 PM

        AstroTurf is just a tad different than a hockey rink

  8. greatminnesotasportsmind - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Let’s just face it, right now either Parise or Suter are signed by an NHL team. We just don’t know which one. Agents do all the dirty work. Your naive if you think every GM hasn’t talked to their representatives yet.

    As reported on here; Parise knows Minnesota is going to offer him a blank check and won’t be out bid. My guess he has already signed with the Wild. He was in town last week for a charity hockey game. I am guessing the few members of the Wild who played in that game, is selling him on the the fact the Wild are set up perfectly for the next handful of years. They shed big contracts every summer starting next summer. That will only allow them to sign free agents that are high profile each of the next 2 summers starting next summer. Not only potentially adding big name free agents, they have the 2nd best group of prospects that they are starting to infuse this year. Players are going to look at the long term out look (sorry Detroit fans, your team is old) beyond the next year or two. The Wild are set up to become a playoff team this year and a Cup contender starting the year after.

    Suter and Parise are the reason why Chuck Fletcher traded Nick Schultz to a divisional rival in Edmonton for Tom Gilbert. Gilbert played youth hockey with Parise and is good friends with him. Gilbert played college hockey at Wisconsin with Suter and is good friends with him. The under looked part is Suter married a girl from Bloomington, Minnesota. If you don’t think the wife has any say, look up the reason why Chris Pronger was traded from Edmonton right after they reached the Cup Final.

    The only question is can the Wild sell that to them?

    • pajabroni - Jun 25, 2012 at 9:12 PM

      You are a ridiculous hopeful fan. Unintelligent of the game despite your incessant prose talking about intangibles that won’t matter come July 1.

      You talk about how they will be allowed to sign high profile players for the next 2 summers…why not just go to a team that wouldn’t need to do that? i.e. Pittsburgh or Detroit. Both teams are set up to win now…you are naive to think those two players want to deal with “prospects”

      Its hilarious to see you draw these ties to each free agent…you’re an idiot if you don’t think every team could do that in some facet.

      “Sidney Crosby was sitting with Parise’s family during the Stanley Cup Finals”

      Its fine that you are hopeful, but no one wants to read about how you’re a self-proclaimed great sports mind when you come at us with this garbage.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jun 25, 2012 at 9:27 PM

        Exactly how is Pittsburgh is better cap wise when they need to resign Crosby, when he’s getting a raise from 8.7 million this year, Malkin presumably next summer from his 8.7 million, Sutter getting a massive pay day from his 2.2 million this year, Fluery from his 5 million, Tyler Kennedy is getting a raise soon, as well.

        Maybe before knocking me on the Wild learn about other teams cap situations before recklessly throwing them out there.

        The fact the Wild have the 2nd rated prospects league wide, counts for something. It’s not dumb for players who are going to sign 10 year contract look further down the road. The Wings are old. The Pens would have cap issues.

        And no I am not naive to think agents and GM have already talked. Your honestly telling me when free agency starts at noon eastern, and the first contract is signed at 12:15 it only took 15 minutes to get it done.

  9. sjsharks66 - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    If the pens can get both suter and parise they will dominate the eastern conference.

    • bensawesomeness - Jun 26, 2012 at 12:40 AM

      they’ll also be just about out of cap space, and equally screwed when it comes to signing Crosby and Fleury, which may work out, but then they’ll have no room for anyone else

  10. charleslouis99 - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    I seriously hope the penguins fail miserably at signing any significant free agents.

  11. vokounviolatesvirginvag - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    jealousy is seeping out of your pores. soup can watch 2012

    • emoser - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:16 PM

      Maybe I can help with your “watch.” Last I saw your soup can was on April 22nd, sitting next to your boy Malkin’s jock.

  12. malkinrulez - Jun 25, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    Emoser u have to be the most uneducated hockey fan in the world! 3 goals 5 assists in 6 games pretty good average! Our boy Malkin cleaned up Hart,Lindsay,art Ross , MVP of world championships, gold medal. What does the savior Giroux have?

    • melonheadsdaddy - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:19 AM

      Knocking Crosby on his ass and firing in a series clinching goal a mere 10 seconds into game 6 is a nice start…so young and no where to go but up…hopefully fleury isn’t still havin nightmares about Philly or else you guys are gonna be in trouble for years to come..

  13. legacybroken - Jun 25, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Bmscalise

    Yes currently the Penguins current core is younger then Detroit’s but you write off the rest of Detroit’s younger talent at your own peril. Because the Wings have been dominant for so long we have the luxury of slowly developing our prospects and then getting them experience as role players who will eventually succeed our core guys when its their time. We hhave the best front office and hockey with a GM with a tried and true system that consistenly churns out young talent and will continue to do so. If Parise and Suter want to join a western conference contender both in the near and more distant future then they will become Detroit Red Wings.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jun 25, 2012 at 6:31 PM

      I’d like to see the Dead Things replace Datsyuk, Zetterberg, etc. with “role players”

      • zaksyuk - Jun 25, 2012 at 7:03 PM

        Id like to see a team in minnesota that dosent play womens basketball put together a winning season.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jun 25, 2012 at 8:50 PM

        If you want to compare since 2000 we will stop right at Vikings/Lions and Twins/Tigers.

  14. zaksyuk - Jun 25, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    Redwing’s fan here if you think we want suter to come in and “replace” the legendary nick lidstrom your a complete idiot. There is no replacing lidstrom, however getting a guy with the talent that suter has will definitley help fill the void.

  15. jm583 - Jun 26, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Meanwhile, not one word from anybody, press included, about Dallas. They have a new owner, and absolutely gobs of cap room, and stacks of money burning a hole in their pocket, and they just dumped Ribeiro to create $5 million more. The news is always, always, always about the Wings and the Pens, and the Rangers. Wait til Monday. No team in the NHL is getting ready to make a bigger splash than Dallas.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jun 26, 2012 at 6:27 PM

      Dallas still has a hockey team?

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