Shea Weber #6 and Ryan Suter #20 of the Nashville Predators celebrate Weber's goal during the first period against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on October 13, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images) * Local Caption * Ryan Suter; Shea Weber
(October 13, 2008 - Source: Brian Kersey/Getty Images North America

Nashville plans to give firm offers to Suter, Weber


Predators GM David Poile wants Ryan Suter, but if he’s not coming back, he needs to know so that he can make other arrangements.

With that in mind, Josh Cooper is reporting that Poile plans to make a “firm offer” to Suter and another to restricted free agent Shea Weber.

“I haven’t done that to this point, but I think that’s probably the proper thing to do,” Poile said. “It’s a tough situation we’re in. Ryan controls all the cards right now, and if he comes back and signs with us, that’s terrific and we live happily ever after, but we need to move this forward because there’s a couple of other directions we may want to go if we knew that he wasn’t coming back.”

Personally, I think if Suter wanted to stay with Nashville, he would have re-signed with them by now. It wouldn’t be Earth-shattering news if he did agree to terms with the Predators, but at this point it seems far more likely that he will go elsewhere.

Weber is a bit of a more complicated situation. The Nashville Predators are in danger of losing Suter for nothing. If Weber refuses to sign a long-term contract with the Predators, they could end up watching Weber walk too. With that in mind, it might be better to trade Weber over the summer if Suter walks and Weber refuses to ink anything other than a one-year deal.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.