On July 1, 2012, Ryan Suter became an unrestricted free agent. From that point forward, he was free and clear of the team that formerly employed him, the Nashville Predators. At that point in time, he owed the team nothing and they owed him nothing; their seven-year partnership had simply dissolved. As far as divorces go, it was as clean a break as anyone could hope for.
Suter spent a few days on the free-agent market, listening to all his potential suitors pitch woo in his direction, and after considering all their tales of money and glory, he decided to ink a monster contract with the Minnesota Wild.
The signing made sense, it was near his home and family and paid a hefty $98 million dollars over 13 years.
You would think that would be the end of the story, but it wasn’t. For some reason, Predators general manager David Poile decided that he was best suited to play the roll of the jilted lover, saying in a media call that he was “not only disappointed but very surprised” that Suter had not signed a deal with his club.
Poile continued saying, “Over the last year I’ve had literally 20, 30, 40 conversations with Ryan and his representatives, mostly with Ryan about our desire to sign him to a long term deal and obviously his importance to the Predators hockey club.”
Poile then went on to praise Suter as a player and finally got to the point of why Suter didn’t sign with the Preds: “He told me that it was for family reasons.” Poile then said, “The disappointing point is that’s not what we talked about all year long. I think we met Ryan’s desires and criteria on every front and today is very, very disappointing.”
In even bringing this up, Poile came across as bitter and petty; instead of congratulating him for a successful career and accepting the business decision that Suter made, he whined about it. It was unnecessary and put Suter on the defensive.
Poile’s statement left Suter feeling guilty enough that he spoke to the Tennessean and offered an apology to Poile, “I wanted it to work in Nashville, but the decision I made was to move on, and I’m sorry for the hurt that it has brought to David Poile and to the Predators.”
Suter should have never been in that place, he shouldn’t have felt guilty. If anything, he should have called Poile on his pettiness. If Poile would have traded Suter with no notice and uprooted him and his family, would Poile have gone to the press and made the same type of comments? No, Poile would have said it was business as usual, a move that needed to be made to make his team better. Why should Suter be chastised for making a business decision of his own, especially when he was a free agent?
It’s sad that Poile, a man that has a long career in the game of hockey, would act in such a manner.