Report: Ryan Suter Wants to Stay in West; Red Wings Frontrunners for Nashville Defenseman

Report: Ryan Suter Wants to Stay in West; Red Wings Frontrunners for Nashville DefensemanAnother day, another Atlantic Division power shunned by one of the NHL's top pending free agents. On Wednesday, New Jersey forward Zach Parise told reporters there was "no way" he would sign with the rival Rangers while reaffirming his desire to stay with the Devils.

On Thursday, it was the Flyers' turn to feel the bitter bite of rejection. CSNPhilly.com's Tim Panaccio reported that Nashville's Ryan Suter, the top defenseman scheduled to hit the market on July 1 as an unrestricted free agent, has no desire to take his talents to Philadelphia.

Citing "a well-placed source," Panaccio reported that Suter has drafted "a potential list of clubs he would be willing to talk to even if his rights were traded before July 1," and that list won't include Philadelphia. Actually, it won't include any teams from the Eastern Conference, as Suter apparently wants to stay out West if he doesn't remain in Nashville.

While every team in the league could make use of a defenseman with Suter's skills, the Flyers would have obvious interest with the uncertainty of Chris Pronger's future as he continues to battle post-concussion symptoms. Philadelphia's defense could be further depleted this summer if Matt Carle, who is also slated to be an unrestricted free agent, signs elsewhere after July 1.

Panaccio's report also noted that Nashville general manager David Poile has not talked with any other teams about dealing Suter's rights or discussed trading fellow defenseman Shea Weber, a restricted free agent who was a Norris Trophy finalist this year. Even if the Predators don't trade Suter's rights, the list of potential teams he'd speak with give a pretty good indication of where he'd likely sign if he leaves Nashville.

Even by limiting the market to the Western Conference, Suter will still have plenty of suitors ready to break out their checkbooks on July 1. Detroit is widely considered the frontrunner to land his services. The Red Wings have the cap space, offer the chance to play for a perennial contender and have a definite need for Suter with their defense depleted by Nicklas Lidstrom's retirement and the trading of the rights to pending UFA Brad Stuart to San Jose. The Red Wings will still have plenty of competition from their Western rivals, but their chances of landing Suter may have been enhanced significantly if Suter really is ruling out a move to any of the Eastern Conference's big-spending contenders.

Photo courtesy of Flickr/clydeorama

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