It’s ironic that the Predators lost Ryan Suter and may be unable to keep his star defense partner Shea Weber (right) at a time when tight finances are no longer a big issue for the franchise. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
By Stu Hackel
The earth didn’t exactly shake and the sun didn’t rise in the West, but something pretty unusual has transpired since the opening of free agency on July 1. None of the NHL’s high profile, high revenue clubs made off with the best players available.
We’d all become conditioned to the big clubs getting the big names. The list always begins with hockey’s premier franchises — the Original Six, plus the Penguins, Flyers, Canucks, Sharks, Stars and maybe one or two others. As Billie Holiday wrote and sang long ago, “Them that’s got shall get, Them that’s not shall lose,” a colloquial way of saying the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. It’s pretty much true in life and that’s how we expect it to go down in the NHL, too.
But here are Zach Parise and Ryan Suter dressed not in the sweaters of the Penguins or Red Wings or Blackhawks, but the Minnesota Wild! Add the Oilers’ signing of college defenseman Justin Schultz, a Western Canadian product hotly pursued by numerous NHL clubs once his draft rights with Anaheim expired. And, on Wednesday night, the Lightning joined the party by inking former Flyer Matt Carle who, right after Suter, was in the next tier of ardently sought d-men with Schultz and Jason Garrison.