The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/16/12 at 03:20 PM ET
On a very strange Saturday afternoon, the Red Wings’ Twitter account notes that we’ve reached the final of four Stanley Cup anniversaries…
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: On this date in 1998, the #Wings won their ninth Stanley Cup title, sweeping the Washington Capitals in DC.
And the Wings posted a highlight clip from said Cup run to commemorate it:
Heading back to our main topic of the day in the Ryan Suter watch, Pro Hockey Talk’s Joe Yerdon offered an intriguing set of quips regarding Suter’s future from Minneapolis’s KFAN’s Patrick Knight, who spoke to the Tennessean’s Josh Cooper and Suter’s college coach, Mike “Father of Patrick” Eaves, about Suter’s likely landing spots based upon his personality:
Everyone loves the way Suter plays the game on the ice and he is a great community person off the ice. In fact, off the ice, Suter is a blue-collar “want-to-be farmer” that spends his offseason in the Midwest where he can get away from the spotlight. His current General Manager, David Poile, recently spent some time with Suter on his farm outside of Madison.
“He is a ‘want-to-be’ farmer,” Poile to a Nashville area radio station. “Everything that you have heard about Ryan, that’s how he talks - about the land, the trees and the animals and that’s what Ryan he wants to be. He was born and raised in Wisconsin; he loves it up there and has a beautiful place.”
“He is a guy that likes his privacy,” Cooper told me. “I don’t know if he was in a market where everybody knew who you are and everybody followed your every move, if he would really enjoy that.”
With the love of having a plot of land, having the ability to “get away” from it all and being a private person, one could assume that would play in to where Suter ends up signing next month. I believe the Wild can offer the kind of lifestyle Suter enjoys, in which other larger markets cannot. It is difficult to get away and not be in the spotlight in places like New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and, to a certain degree, Detroit. Poile alluded to this issue after he visited with Suter in Madison recently.
“I still believe that we (Nashville) are the right fit for him on and off the ice,” Poile said. He went out of his way to add that, “The Los Angeles Kings could go after Ryan and the New York Rangers can. He is not going there. I am one-hundred-percent sure of that based on his personality, the size of the city and the market he wants to play in.”
“If Ryan was in a New York or something he would go there but if he has a choice in this matter, which at this point of his career he does, being able to get away into some country space to go out to fish and be alone fits his personality pretty well,” said Eaves.
If you believe Eaves, it really is down to Nashville, Detroit and Minnesota as possible landing spots for Suter.
“I would say (he would sign) somewhere in the Midwest,” Eaves said, finishing with, “If you take a look at the structure of the states, I think you could go as far south as St. Louis right through up to Detroit and over to Minneapolis. I think you are looking somewhere in the Midwest where he kind of knows the lifestyle he and his family would be getting into.”
And while we’re at it, let’s all be surprised that Cooper’s continuing to pound the, “Eww, why would Suter ever want to leave Nashville for icky Detroit?” drum:
You have to wonder what Poile should do in this situation. On Friday, when asked about trading Suter’s rights, Poile stressed that he wanted to stay ‘loyal’ to Suter during the process. Poile also indicated that Suter would probably come back and talk to Nashville after he looks at the market. In his heart of hearts, Poile believes this is the right place for Suter. It’s the right market size, the right type of lifestyle and gives him the type of anonymity he craves. Also, with Suter and Shea Weber running the leadership group, the Predators have had the most successful two year run in franchise history. Right now, Nashville probably fits him better than Detroit and Minnesota — as all three teams are currently constructed on this day.
But what if the Los Angeles Kings decide to come in with an offer on Suter — not that we know anything on this but just a ‘what if’ scenario — and gives him a chance to play with the Stanley Cup champs, a team that will likely bring back pretty much everyone with a core group that’s just hitting its prime. What would he say? You’d have to think on-ice product would trump market size. Until you actually hit free agency, you don’t know what teams are actually interested in you.
Suter’s situation is currently preventing the Predators from re-signing any of their unrestricted free agents. If you’re Hal Gill or Paul Gaustad — two players 30 and over who want to win — it would be tough to come back to the Predators if they lose their top free agent in the UFA market. Trading Suter’s rights doesn’t do too much, other than recoup what would likely be a later round draft pick or two, and Poile knows this. Unless Suter completely decides to sever ties with the Predators before July 1, this probably won’t be an option.
What it will be like in Nashville’s free agent ‘war room’ on July 1 — hoping and waiting that they receive a call to deal from Suter? We can only imagine the nerves. It could be as anxious a hockey-related moment as we’ve seen in the history of the franchise.
Otherwise, I don’t even want to dignify Yahoo Sports’ Harrison Mooney’s suggestion that players with Nicklas Lidstrom-style understated personalities make it harder for gay hockey players to come out of the closet—for flibbertyjibbits’ sake, Lidstrom is a “role model” because he’s a hard-working, ever-professional player who puts his team first, and you don’t need to be vanilla, or straight, to be a “great teammate”...
The Devils earned an additional $32.3 million during their run to the finals, according to an estimate by The Star-Ledger of Newark, and that would help with a loan payment of around $80 million that is due soon. But their future could hinge on whether an investor or investors will buy a substantial minority share in the team. No such sale has been announced.
The Devils’ financial situation may be a factor in where their captain, Zach Parise, will wind up when he becomes a free agent on July 1, but one potential destination is already off the table: Parise said last week that he would not sign with the Rangers.
The other big name atop the pending free-agent market is Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter, Parise’s good friend. The Predators hope to retain Suter, but reports persist that he could be headed for the Detroit Red Wings, whose captain, Nicklas Lidstrom, retired. Other reports have Parise joining Suter in Detroit.
Another elite player who could be on the move is Columbus wing Rick Nash. Nash could be dealt around the league’s entry draft next weekend, since at least seven teams are reported to be talking with the Blue Jackets. A clause in Nash’s contract gives him the right to approve any trade.
• And I don’t know if you’ll feel warm fuzzies when perusing NHL.com’s John Kreiser’s article about the best ninth round draft picks, Jonathan Ericsson included, given that the ninth round is extinct, but hey, Ericsson’s no…Jesper Samuelsson?
Update #0.5: Yahoo Sports’ Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski has weighed in on the Suter situation if you’re interested in reading one more perspective.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.