Believe it or not, there is a chance that the unrestricted free agent could be a Hawk next season. After reading up on this topic online multiple times, and watching NHL analysts on TV talk about where Suter might land, here is what I have learned about the Hawks’ possibility of signing him:
- One of the big factors that will play into Suter’s decision as to where he will sign this summer is his family. He wants to play for an NHL team that is close to his hometown of Madison, WI, so that he can be near his family. Well, guess what? The closest NHL arena to Madison is located on West Madison Street in Chicago (irony?).
- His uncle, Gary Suter, spent a number of seasons with the Blackhawks and still has a good relationship with the team. Ryan Suter grew up a Hawks fan because of this as well.
- The Blackhawks have a solid, core group of young players (that have already won a Cup), which is appealing to any free agent. With the addition of Suter, they would have 3 defenseman who could be considered a number 1 defenseman on most teams. While this might seem like a turnoff to a star player like Suter who most likely wants to be “the guy” wherever he goes, it could also increase his desire to come to Chicago. His minutes would be slightly decreased, but that would help to prolong his career. The amount of pressure on Suter to perform at a Norris Trophy-type level would be reduced as well. Also, with 3 top defenseman of Keith, Seabrook, and Suter, the Hawks would instantly become a better team.
- Suter will be demanding a large amount of money with his new contract. Most likely, he’ll end up getting anywhere from 6-8 million wherever he signs. A lot of teams have the money to sign him, but only a couple of them are on his “list.” If Nicklas Lidstrom decides to hang up the skates this summer, Detroit will be looking to fill his place with a top end defenseman. Were this to happen, the Wings would have that much more money to go out and spend since they would no longer have Lidstrom’s contract. They could spend it on Suter, or they can use it to resign key players such as Datsyuk, Franzen, and Zetterberg in the future. That’s a tough decision for them to have to make. As for the Hawks, if they do not resign Oduya and decide to trade away someone like Bolland or Hjalmarsson, they would have more than enough money to sign Suter.
It definitely seems possible that Ryan Suter could be calling Chicago his new home come training camp. While I still wouldn’t give it the best odds, this is something that Blackhawks fans should pay attention to. The Hawks have a lot of decisions to make this off-season. Will they trade some key players to free up cap space, which they would then use on free agents? Will they stay put and try to get better by developing their prospects? These are questions that only time will answer. Hopefully, time will provide us with an answer that pleases us all. But that’s a lot to ask for, right?