Suter to test free agency?

Nashville Predators GM David Poile remains optimistic over getting UFA defenseman Ryan Suter re-signed, but it appears the blueliner will test this summer’s free agent market.

In an interview last Friday with The Tennessean, Poile said he’ll maintain contact with Suter, who could “take a peek” at possible offers from rival clubs on July 1. It sounds like Suter could field offers, then contact Poile to see if the Predators can match or beat the best one.

Josh Cooper of The Tennessean, meanwhile, suggested the Suter contract negotiations could be holding up efforts to re-sign other pending UFAs, like defenseman Hal Gill and center Paul Gaustad.

Cooper doubts Poile will shop Suter’s rights, a further indication the Predators aren’t giving up hope of re-signing him after July 1.

Among the teams who could be in pursuit of Suter come July are the Philadelphia Flyers. An NHL source told Sam Carchidi of The Philadelphia Inquirer GM Paul Holmgren could target the Predators blueliner, as well as New Jersey Devils left winger Zach Parise.

Holmgren, meanwhile, said he intends to be “proactive” in efforts to improve his team. He remains confident in the development of left winger James van Riemsdyk, hopes to get defenseman Matt Carle under contract on July 1 and believes there’s a 50-50 chance right winger Jaromir Jagr will return for another season.

The interest in Suter is understandable, given the uncertainty over the future of team captain Chris Pronger, who continues to be plagued by post-concussion symptoms.

As for Holmgren’s potential interest in Parise or Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Rick Nash, both seem expensive and – considering the Flyers offensive depth – unnecessary targets.

With superstar center Claude Giroux ($3.75 million average annual salary) due a significant raise when his current deal expires in 2014, it wouldn’t make sense for Holmgren to add expensive wingers like Nash or Parise.


It was reported over the weekend pending UFA defenseman Sheldon Souray had rejected a one-year, $3 million contract offer from the Dallas Stars, as the 35-year-old apparently seeks a long-term term deal.

But according to Dallas Morning News columnist Mike Heika, the contract was discussed but not offered.

Souray’s future in Dallas remains uncertain as Stars management considers its defense options.

The Stars are among several teams thought to have interest in Suter come July 1. Should they successfully sign him, they might pass on Souray.

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It’s possible the two sides could revisit that offer if the Stars lose out on the Suter sweepstakes and if Souray doesn’t find a longer term deal elsewhere.


As the uncertainty over the Phoenix Coyotes ownership situation grinds on, Coyotes GM Don Maloney is attempting to re-sign his key free agents.

Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic recently reported Maloney was in talks with representatives for team captain Shane Doan, who is very interested in remaining with the Coyotes.

Doan prefers to sign a new deal before July 1, though he could field offers from other teams if he’s unsigned by that point.

Maloney would also like to re-sign 40-year-old winger Ray Whitney, but the GM sounded leery about offering more than a one-year deal.

McLellan also reported Maloney would like to bolster his offense and suggested the Coyotes GM should get goaltending star Mike Smith, who has one year left on his current contract, re-signed to a long-term extension as quickly as possible.

Unquestionably, Maloney would love to address these issues as soon as possible, but as long as the team’s sale to the new ownership group headed by Greg Jamison remains stalled, it could hamstring his efforts.


Silly trade rumor of the week: The Montreal Canadiens trading defenseman P.K. Subban and their first round pick (third overall) to the Edmonton Oilers for the first overall pick, which the Canadiens would use to draft Nail Yakupov.

This one was dismissed a week ago by the Montreal Gazette’s Pat Hickey, but as the opening night of the 2012 draft approaches it continues to be bandied about the Twittersphere.

Hickey’s rejection of the rumor was supported by Newsday’s Arthur Staple, who claimed those who’ve spoken to new Habs GM Marc Bergevin said he’s not moving Subban.

One has to believe if Bergevin had made that pitch, the trade would’ve taken place by now.


Rumor Roundup appears Monday-Friday only on Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website,, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News, Kukla’s Korner and The Guardian, Charlottetown.