Clearly the loss of Suter leaves a gaping whole in the Predators roster. Hypothetically, if the Preds can only sign Weber, the defense pairing will look like this: Weber with Josi, Klein with Blum, and Ellis with Gill. I am imagining I am feeling what most fans felt when Weber and Suter made their debuts in the league. I love these lines if Josi, Blum, and Ellis play the way we hope them too. Add Ekholm into the mix and the Predator defense core has all the promise in the world.
But relying on rookies is like horse racing being your primary source of income. Enter Matt Carle, the top defense man left on the market. He is not Suter, but he is a fair replacement. With the Preds about thirty million under the cap floor, they have the ability to overpay Carle making Nashville that much more intriguing. As Poile works towards signing Carle, he also has to be working towards signing Weber to a long term deal. And Weber is the key in all of this, the Preds must lock him down, and they must lock him up for as long as they possibly can. There is no telling how the splitting of Weber and Suter will effect each others play. My bet is that Suter will suffer more, his playing partner in Minnesota will be a major down grade from Weber. Not to mention Weber creates many of his own scoring chances.
Even with the departure of Suter, I am not tremendously concerned with defense. Between Trotz's ability to run a defensive system, Pekka's unbelievable talent, and possibly the best defensive forward core in the league, defense is not something that I am worried about. Nashville hasn't been an offensive threat since J.P. Dumont was putting up sixty points a season. So the question arises, what will the Preds do for offense. I expect both Josi and Ellis to have bigger offensive years, the same goes for forwards Craig Smith and Gabriel Borque.
So what forwards are available? Radulov is back to Russia and being paid Crosby type of money, not that he looked good in his time here. Semin is said to have attitude problems, and lacks presence in the the defensive zone, and by lacks presence, I mean to say he is a ghost, non-existent. Rick Nash is on the market, but no rumor has had Nashville in the race for him. Thinking about it, would it really be smart of Columbus to trade him in division, no. Bobby Ryan is also said to be on the market, and he is the dream. People have been floating the idea of Wilson, Blum and our first for Ryan, if Anaheim will accept, it is Poile's job to pounce like a hungry tiger. Bobby Ryan would automatically take Nashville's offense to the next level. Other names I like are Wojtek Wolski, Niklas Hagman, Eric Fehr, and Peter Mueller to name a few. I'd give Peter Mmueller more attention, because I would love to see him in gold, but I see him being the next Matt Lombardi.