The Nashville Predators opted to wait it out Monday.
It could be well worth it if they’re given the opportunity to spend the money they have available.
The agent for defenseman Ryan Suter said there would be no word before Tuesday in regard to the free agent defenseman’s future. Zach Parise, the top forward available, said the same thing about his plans in a brief press conference outside his agent’s office in Mississauga, Ontario.
"There will be no decision on Ryan Suter tonight and there is no timetable for his contract signing at this time," Suter's agent, Neil Sheehy, wrote in an email to the Associated Press on Monday. "Ryan is considering his opportunities and is taking the necessary time to give each proper consideration."
A day earlier Nashville general manager David Poile made it clear that he was uncomfortable with the amount of time Suter, the team’s first-round draft pick in 2003, was taking to make his choice. To that end, he sent what effectively was the team’s best offer to Suter’s representatives in an attempt to speed up the process, at least as it pertained to the Predators.
“The way I’m going to present it, in totality of dollars, that will be our offer,” Poile said Sunday afternoon.
He also confirmed that the team had reached out to Parise, who has spent his entire career with the New Jersey Devils.
According to capgeek.com, Nashville has more room under the salary cap than any of the league’s other 29 teams. Their current payroll is more than $30 million under the projected cap as the free agent signing period enters its second full day.
That’s nearly twice as much as Minnesota, which has confirmed its interest in both players. Among other speculative destinations for one or both — a group that includes Detroit, Chicago and Pittsburgh — the Red Wings have the most to spend, but they are just shy of $17 million under the cap.
Thus the Predators have the means to sign Suter and Parise — not to mention captain Shea Weber — to deals that include significant money in the early years.
The question is whether or not they have the patience to wait much longer — and whether they will have any options if the players elect to go elsewhere.
For example, 10 defensemen have signed multi-year deals since free agency began at 11 a.m. (CDT) Sunday. That has seriously diminished what already was a smaller-than-usual talent pool.
The fact that the Predators — and others — have waited this long is proof that they feel that there are no comparable secondary options, and that they still feel reasonably confident in their chances to sign one or both.
Then again, there’s also no guarantee that they’re not waiting vain.