This is a big week off the ice for the Nashville Predators.
Yesterday, it was announced Canadian investor W. Brett Wilson had joined the Nashville ownership group, acquiring a five percent stake in the club.
Today, Preds GM David Poile continued meetings with Neil Sheehy, agent for defenseman Ryan Suter.
For those interested in Suter’s thoughts about negotiations and staying in Nashville, consider what he told Josh Cooper of The Tennessean:
“We’re just talking, trying to figure everything out and that we’re on the same page,” Suter said. “I want to be here, that’s the big thing and they want me here, and it’s going to get done.”
That has to be music to Nashville’s ears. Along with Pekka Rinne and Shea Weber, Suter is one of three core pieces the Predators want to retain long-term. With Rinne already locked up and Weber unable to sign a new contract until January (because he signed a one-year deal after going to arbitration), it makes sense the Sheehy-Poile summit is happening now.
Not that this is the first time the two have met. Talks to extend Suter began back in September, the same month Poile also met with Rinne’s agent, Jay Grossman. That meeting led to Rinne’s seven-year, $49-million deal, the largest contract in team history.
(Also interesting: In September, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun wrote “the Preds will be aggressive in trying to get a deal done on both fronts.” Well, they certainly were aggressive with Rinne…)
So, could a Suter deal be close?
“I don’t want to get into the substance of the negotiation. The Predators are making every effort to sign Ryan and Ryan wants to be here, but there’s issues you address,” Sheehy told The Tennesean. “I think it’s always best when you can address them with each other. You take a little bit of time to reflect on it and then you come back to further discussions.”
It’ll be interesting to see if Wilson’s addition to the ownership group plays a role. As Brough wrote yesterday, “while Preds fans may remain wary of a Canadian owner, even a minority one, a cash injection could be just what the team needs to sign Suter and Weber long term.”