Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter is most likely finished with the club come the conclusion of the postseason.
After Suter decided against signing an extension with the Preds before the trade deadline, speculation was rife that Suter was planning to leave Nashvile via free agency. So the question now is, who will he play for next season?
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun proposes what could be the most logical answer to this question:
The Flyers pursued D Ryan Suter before the deadline, but Nashville GM David Poile wasn’t going to give up a player who is going to be key in the post-season. Should Suter not sign with the Predators, then expect the Flyers to make a hard pitch ...
Ryan Suter to the Flyers—that would truly be something wouldn't it?
Flyers fans can rejoice in the fact that this is totally plausible. The only logical reason the Predators would have passed on the opportunity to get more scorers—which would have been the trade due to the depth of offense in Philly, and the lack of it in Nashville—was that Suter was/is crucial to any Preds title run.
If Suter were to land on the Flyers, the club would instantly become the Stanley Cup favorites. They have the skill at offense, and the makings of what could be a stellar defense.
One of the biggest upsides to landing Suter has to be the possibility of him playing next to existing defensive captain Chris Pronger, who has been sidelined for the majority of the season due to post-concussion symptoms suffered from a freak accident earlier this season. If Suter and Pronger were to team up, the Flyers defense would instantly become one of the best in the league.
Will the Flyers be able to bring Suter in?
There is speculation, however, as to if and when Pronger can recover and return to hockey from the troubling head issues. Pronger is 37, mind you, and has over a thousand games under his belt. If the lingering symptoms don't clear up soon, then the veteran might be forced to retire.
Even if this is the case, the Flyers will be safe as long as they bring in Suter. He's arguably one of the top three defensive players in the NHL and could easily take over responsibilities if needed in Philadelphia.
Furthermore, that also brings up the point about Suter's leadership skills. With or without Pronger, Suter would be a great presence both in the Flyers locker room and on the ice. He held a leadership role for years in Nashville, and the role could easily transfer over to Philly.
Suter would also provide much greater protection to the Flyers goalkeepers, Ilya Bryzgalov and Sergei Bobrovsky. It is well known that these two goalies have suffered from streaky play and injury recently, which is undoubtedly partly attributable to poor play up front by the Flyers' existing back line
With Suter on the Flyers defense (again, with or without Pronger), the goaltenders will have a much easier time and have to deal with significantly fewer shots on goal.
The final major plus of Suter is his ability to make the players around him better. The opportunity for some of the younger, less experienced or less-skilled players to play beside such a talent would make the Flyers, as a whole, a better team.
The Flyers must close on the Suter deal—their future successes depend on it. The Flyers should not fret too heavily on the cost, as the opportunity to bring in a player of this caliber doesn't come often, and doesn't stay around for long.
So, please Flyers, for the good of your team, and the joy of your fans, bring Suter to Philly. Bring him home!