Uncertainty over the future of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter has been a black cloud looming over the Nashville Predators all season.
Both defender's contracts expire at the end of the 2011-12 season, with Suter becoming an unrestricted free agent and Weber a restricted free agent. They each are in the top-10 in points among all NHL defensemen, with Weber at 30 and Suter with 25. Weber has the second-highest goal total for defenders with nine, and Suter is second among skaters with 27 minutes of ice time per contest.
Despite missing four games with a concussion, Weber looks to be the front-runner for this year's Norris Trophy, which is awarded to the league's best blue-liner.
The NHL announced Thursday that both Weber and Suter are heading to the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa, only solidifying their presence as two of the top defenders in this league.
As teams around the NHL have learned, Nashville's front-office doesn't necessarily like throwing money around—and can't. They boast the lowest payroll in the league—despite reaching the playoffs five out of the last six years.
Depending on the team's performance throughout the second half of this season (they're currently T-sixth in the West with 50 points), dealing either of these players may become an inevitability.
With that said, which teams have the best chance of landing these star-studded Predators if their time in Nashville is coming to an end?