Last time, I examined the reasons why I thought Nashville and New Jersey should get together on a trade sending Zach Parise to Nashville- without Ryan Suter going the other way.
This week has seen a flurry of discussion on what to do with Suter (and to a lesser degree, Weber). Primarily, the focus is on whether Suter or Weber should be traded prior to the deadline.
For me, the answer is simple. David Poile should keep both Suter and Weber and let this team make its push as far as it goes. He should do everything he reasonably can to improve the team at the deadline while keeping its core intact.
After the season, if Suter informs Poile that he intends to test the free agent waters and won’t be back, then you move him around the time of the draft.
Why? It’s pretty simple. You play to win. Doing that means you don’t trade your core coming off a season where you advanced in the playoffs and are again pushing to make the playoffs- particularly when you’re only six points out of first in the Western Conference.
David Poile should be very aggressive in shoring up this team to win the Cup this season. He should go out and make every effort to bring in additional offense and maybe another veteran for the bottom half of the blueline. He should not rip out the core of this team midseason.
Yesterday, Barry Trotz told Adam Kimelman of NHL.com “…and you see that we’re fighting for first overall in the League almost. We’re six points out today, but that’s our expectation, to see if we can finish first in the West.” If David Poile trades Suter or Weber, he’s sending the wrong message to his team.
You often hear coaches talk about players either losing confidence in themselves or needing to play with more confidence. If Nashville wants to be an attractive destination for players looking to contend, they need to manage their team with the confidence that they are going to do everything within their means to win every season.
Detroit succeeds because they understand that while they could have traded Marian Hossa to the Eastern Conference, they needed him that season to maximize their chances to win then. They had confidence in their ability to replace Hossa either from within or via free agency and managed with that confidence. Confidence, like success, starts at the top.
Nashville is entering a period in time where they have one of the best foundations of players when you combine those in the NHL and in the minors while also considering age. Coinciding with that is the apparent willingness to increase the roster payroll significantly. Now is the time to show confidence in what you’ve built and show some swagger in your ability to make the necessary changes to do it again next season if Ryan Suter decides to not return in Nashville.
Commitment to winning is more than just acquiring players, hiring coaches, and running a certain style. Commitment to winning is showing that you are willing to make the hard choices to win now when you have the means.
Show that level of commitment and you might not even have to worry about not having Suter next season, as Nashville will be a place where one wants to play.
You are invited to follow me on Twitter (@SingletonPreds). For game recaps of all Predators games as well as great insights on the Predators and the NHL, check out my HockeyIndependent colleague, Mark Willoughby (@TheViewFrom111).
About the Author: Nashville Predators Blogger, Software Engineer (C#.NET), Novice Woodworker, Southern Cook, Husband, Father of Two. You may contact me at David.R.Singleton AT gmail.com.