Ryan Suter’s future in Nashville is getting murky

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Josh Cooper of The Tennessean spoke with Predators GM David Poile today about the state of contract negotiations with free-agent-to-be Ryan Suter.

Poile has been actively trying to re-sign the 26-year-old blueliner all season — he and Suter’s agent, Neil Sheehy, began talks back in September — but it doesn’t sound like much progress has been made.

“Our first and foremost goal is to sign Ryan,” Poile said. “We’ve been trying to do that all season long. I’ve not accomplished that to this point, but we’re hoping to continue discussions and get that done at some point. ”

Hmm.

One thing not working in Poile’s favor is the calendar. The NHL trade deadline is less than two months away and the longer Suter goes unsigned, the more likely a trade becomes. Nashville can’t run the risk of going past the deadline without a new deal in place for Suter, mostly out of fear of another Dan Hamhuis-type situation (unable to reach a deal in 2009-10, Nashville let Hamhuis play out the season before trading his negotiating rights for Ryan Parent.)

It’s something Poile alluded to in speaking with Cooper.

“We’ll be prepared, if we feel that we weren’t going to be able to sign Ryan, and if we thought we were in a position that we had to or should trade him,” Poile said. “I’m certainly hoping that doesn’t happen, I don’t want that to happen, but I want to be prepared for that.”

Expect a long lineup of suitors if Suter becomes available for trade. As Brough wrote last week, teams like Detroit, Chicago and Boston all have cap space available to make a big splash, as do some “sleeper” teams like St. Louis, Dallas, Winnipeg, Minnesota, Florida and Phoenix.