It’s been awfully quiet on the home front as the wake of Ryan Suter’s signing with the Minnesota Wild is finally beginning to settle. Though some are still licking the wounds Suter [and Jordin Tootoo] inflicted on both the fans and organization, most are finally turning their attention on the captain himself and what David Poile will do to anchor the star defenseman in Nashville.
Ryan Suter high-tailed it to Minnesota to be closer to friends and family, we understand. However, it’s quite obvious that Suter was tired of living in Weber’s shadow – It was a little Batman and Robin-ish, if you think about it – and was ready to be the star of his own team. Yet, Suter won’t be the star by any means; thanks to the combined signing of he and Zach Parise, it looks like it’ll be ‘two’s company’ in Minnesota. Sorry, Suter.
Becoming the face of the franchise
Due to Suter booking it North, now Shea has the opportunity to be the face of the Nashville Predators. Even though Mike Fisher, Pekka Rinne, and David Legwand are pretty familiar faces, Weber is the most familiar amongst the league and beyond. Essentially, if signed, the Nashville Predators will be Shea Weber’s team. It will be his opportunity to take the horse by the reins and steer this franchise into a legacy lead by him alone. Now, who do we think will take Suter’s Alternate Captain position? We’re going with David Legwand and we’re almost positive you were, too.
Make him an offer he can’t refuse
A bit ‘Godfather’-ish, right? Well, it’s either that or trade him for all he’s worth. Suter can go on and on until his face turns blue about being completely “forward” with David Poile and the Predators franchise, but we aren’t buying. However, we cannot completely turn this all on Suter; absolutely not. No, David Poile should not have built his pillars so high on promises alone. Anyone can say half way through the season that he has no intentions to pursue other opportunities, but thoughts and minds change. It was clear Suter was not going to return to the Predators, and Poile wasted too much precious time waiting on his decision. His attention now should be fully focused on signing the captain – which means offering what is reasonable without going overboard – and, if it starts looking hairy, make a decision or move on to Plan C. If not, Poile might see even more players jumping ship before Weber’s wake can subside.
A team without Shea Weber
Say, worst comes to worst, and David Poile and the Predators cannot reach a deal with Shea Weber. What’s next for the Predators? With Tootoo and Suter jumping ship, it’s enviable fans will be left with lifesavers themselves, completely disheveled as to what happened to their unsinkable team and what will happen next. However, not all is lost if the captain abandons ship before the passengers do.
Let’s use the Edmonton Oilers, for example:
When Wayne Gretzky was traded, the decision by the Oilers was deemed complete ludicrous and mind-boggling by the rest of the league. I mean, it was Wayne Getzky. However, as we all know, one player does not constitute a team; he can make a huge, major contribution, but he is not a team as a whole. Likewise, the Edmonton Oilers won the Stanley Cup two years later.
The Predators have this opportunity, just as much as the Oilers did back in the day. Is Nashville in the same predicament as the Oilers? No, but it’s a good life example of how a move so ridiculous and outrageous can turn into the greatest celebration in the hockey world. Shea Weber is not everything to Nashville and, if traded, the Predators could gain a Stanley Cup-worthy team from his departure to another franchise. Or, it could send Nashville into a Columbus-like atmosphere (worst scenario).
The Waiting Game
Unfortunately, until David Poile and Shea Weber come to a deal, all the fans can do is wait and watch. Weber has opted out of arbitration, which is a good sign, but it doesn’t mean everything. Every day that goes by is both good news and bad, though most lean to the pessimistic side of that coin. David Poile is a general manager for a reason, so – although most are hurt to admit it – we must put faith in Poile’s decision making and his ability to convince Weber that Nashville is the place plant his roots long-term, possibly for the rest of his career. It’ll be difficult, especially with the prestige history that shines from teams like Pittsburgh, Montreal, and/or Detroit, but what Nashville has that these teams do not is a building legacy. Every year, the Predators break a new record franchise-wise, and why wouldn’t Weber want to lead this organization to its first third-rounder, its first Stanley Cup finals, its first Stanley Cup.
Ryan Suter and Jordin Tootoo are gone, there’s no time to look back on the past and dwell. The time now is to continue to Predators run towards the Cup and it’s time for David Poile to either do this with Shea Weber behind the wheel or leave him at the station. Weber isn’t going to come back cheaply, but Nashville’s perseverance has proven it can make it through the toughest of times…
and Shea can either tough it out long-term or hit the trail.