Predators GM David Poile has quite the time ahead of him. With two cornerstone defensemen to get locked up to long-term deals in Ryan Suter and Shea Weber while managing a team that’s notoriously thrifty life can get tricky.
What we weren’t aware of though was that negotiating a contract with an impending unrestricted free agent like Suter is a lot like courtship. That’s what Josh Cooper of The Tennessean finds out from Poile as the Preds GM opens up about what it’s like to talk things over with a franchise player.
“We talk every week. I met with (his agent) Neil Sheehy for about an hour before the game tonight. It’s just ongoing. It’s the same situation. Everything is being said the way you want a player to say it and the way you want a negotiation to go, except for the final commitment. It’s almost like we’re having a good time together, but we haven’t decided to get married yet.”
This is almost set up to be played out like an episode of “The Bachelor” except instead of roses there are team sweaters.
As for whether or not there’s a deadline to make a move with Suter, Poile says his only deadline is July 1. Keep that in mind as the trade deadline approaches in a few weeks.
Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.
Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.
(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)
Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.
Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.
The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.
Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.
That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.
If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.
The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.