OTTAWA | There’s a very specific identity that goes along with the Nashville Predators. It’s Barry Trotz. It’s defense. It’s Shea Weber and Ryan Suter on defense.
“It’s kind of hard to picture Nashville Predators without those two guys in the back end,” Florida Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell said. “They realize how much they mean to that team, and it’d be pretty hard to see them not there.”
Maybe now everyone will have to start thinking about the Predators without Suter. The defenseman who will become an unrestricted free agent said Friday he won’t sign a new deal with Nashville before the trade deadline, setting the stage for some uncertainty and possibly opening up Suter to be dangled in late February.
“I don’t see it being a benefit by hurrying up and trying to get something done,” Suter said at NHL All-Star Weekend media availability. “I’m a Nashville Predator until July. I will focus on making my team better.”
Suter said he would be “more of a distraction than anything” to sign a new deal in February.
“We’ve never had a time line or deadline,” Suter said. “We’re just focusing on winning. Everything else will take care of itself.”
Suter’s name had already been mentioned in trade rumors in recent months as the Predators were unable to sign him to a contract extension. Campbell was recently a UFA and knows what Suter might be going through this summer.
“It’s not fun at times – going through all that experience. It should be a great time, but you never know what’s going to happen,” Campbell said. “Everything’s worked out great for me. I’m sure it’ll work out well for him.”