If you are like me, then your 4th of July took a strange turn of events this year.
Here I was sitting in the car on way back from visiting our family’s cabin, when hot off the presses, I get a buzz in my email account with the headline Predators G.M. David Poile is going to have media availability. Like anyone in my line of work, seeing something like that means stopping to find out what was going on.
Turns out one of the most bizarre moments in NHL free agency history had just occurred. Fellow American Olympians, Ryan Suter and Zach Parise each signed matching monster contracts to play for the Minnesota Wild. Simply put I was left just about speechless, which it seems Poile just about was. Despite the ownership mess in New Jersey, I thought Parise would resign for the short term and try for one more run. Meanwhile, I was just about sure that Suter was either going to Detroit or staying in Nashville.
So what does this mean for the Nashville Predators as an organization going forward? Losing Suter means a lot of things as it does to a lesser extent losing Francis Bouillon. Every defender within the organization moves up a level or two. Currently I read the depth chart as: Shea Weber, Hal Gill, Kevin Klein, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, and Jonathon Blum. Not a bad group mind you, but its a much thinner corps than in previous years.
That’s a pretty significant career boost for Ellis and Blum, who each played in Milwaukee for part of last season. Notably, Blum is going to have every chance to make Nashville out of training camp this September, when it looked like his career was headed in the wrong direction.
Going forward I would expect Poile and assistant G.M. Paul Fenton to continue shopping for some depth defensemen, because all of sudden Nashville really needs some blue liners who are NHL capable and that’s even if Weber resigns with the Predators.
Interesting days are ahead for sure.
So Roundtable . . . What was your reaction to Suter signing in Minnesota and Bouillon in Montreal? Is Blum ready to hack it in the NHL full time? Are there any depth defensemen available that you would like to see join the organization?