If David Poile sounded shaken during a post-mortem with the media after Ryan Suter bolted Nashville, the defenceman’s former blueline partner and restricted free agent Shea Weber felt liked he’d been hip-checked.
It was hoped Suter would stay and give general manager Poile some positive vibes to keep the Weber contract talks running smoothly.
“(Weber) is still in disbelief,” his agent, Kevin Epp, told ESPN.com on Thursday. “They were so close this year in terms of the team’s chances. They really had a shot. Shea believed there was a good chance that Ryan would stay there. So right now, Shea is still processing this news.
“We’re not in any hurry (to sign). There’s no deadline to this. We’ll take our time and figure out the right thing to do.”
Complicating matters for Nashville is whether Weber digs in and refuses to sign for more than one year, which would take him to unrestricted status under the current CBA. That might force a trade.
The next two defencemen likely to be targeted by Cup contenders with blueline holes are Jay Bouwmeester and Keith Yandle, both under contract, neither expected to come cheap in trades.
IMAGINATION RUNS WILD
For some perspective on what the Minnesota Wild still must do to reach Western powerhouse status after signing Suter and Zach Parise to $98-million deals, consider the Western Conference standings.
They missed the playoffs by 14 points last season behind four other clubs in including the Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. They also had a league-low 177 goals and won just 14 times when scoring first, compared to Vancouver’s 42 victories.
And which team is going to fall out of the top eight in the ultra-competitive Western Conference next year to allow the Wild to advance? Phoenix and San Jose are just maybes. Even without Suter, Nashville retains two-time Vezina Trophy nominee Pekka Rinne in goal. Suter and Parise have a lot to live up to.
The Wild, meanwhile, had one of the biggest ticket surges in franchise history Wednesday, selling 500 season tickets within two hours of signing Parise and Suter and a total of 700 for the day, the Star-Tribune reported.
“With the exception of the day the franchise was granted — and I’ve been here since then — no day matches up to this,” Wild COO Matt Majka said. “We’re enjoying every minute of this.”
NIC OF TIME FOR DUCKS
With Justin Schultz abandoning the Anaheim Ducks, Bobby Ryan wanting out as well and the rival Kings winning the Stanly Cup, the arrival of Nic Kerdiles was a godsend for the Ducks from a damage-control perspective.
He not only yearned to play for Southern California’s ‘second’ team, he used to hang around the Honda Center as a kid. The Ducks couldn’t wait to grab the left winger 36th overall at the draft.
“This is where I have all my memories from,” Kerdiles told the Orange County Register at the Ducks’ practice rink during prospects’ camp. “I’m still trying to take it in and enjoy it. I’ve been very blessed.”
Kerdiles lives in Irvine, Calif., but took a roundabout route to hockey. His French father and French-Canadian mother moved around the world as part of the former’s job in medical equipment sales, with Nic born in Lewisville, Tex.. Taking up hockey when he moved to the coast, Nic had a hand in many of the minor hockey banners that adorn the Ducks’ practice rink. He is committed to the University of Wisconsin, where Schultz played before deciding after four years that the team that drafted him was not where he wanted to play.
“I respect Justin,” Kerdiles said. “I’ve met him. He’s a great kid. We’re in completely different situations. He’s from Canada, I’m from down the street. I respect whatever decision he made (but), I wouldn’t do that to the Ducks because this is who I’ve wanted to play for.”
Left winger David Perron signed a four-year extension in St. Louis on Thursday for $15.25 million ... For the second consecutive year, Jaromir Jagr said the Montreal Canadiens were on his short list, but that he detected a lack of interest on the Habs’ part, which led him to sign with Dallas. The Canadiens countered that the 40-year-old wanted far too much money ($4.5 million) ... TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the Carolina Hurricanes have backed away from talks for Columbus winger Rick Nash. The Blue Jackets wanted Jeff Skinner in the deal, which wasn’t going to happen ... In four days, it will be Shane Doan’s self-imposed deadline to decide whether or not to seek free agency from Phoenix. The Rangers, upstaged by other teams so far in July, are expected to come at him hard ... The Penguins didn’t land Parise, but they did get ex-Leaf Philippe Dupuis on Thursday for a two-way $600,000 contract. Dupuis will be in the same organization with Pascal Dupuis, who was also born in Laval, Que., but is no relation. The two have often been mistaken for each other ... As Parise counts his millions, a copy of father Jean-Paul’s contract with the 1971-72 Minnesota North Stars made the rounds. He played for a $29,000 salary that season ... The Devils will miss Zach’s goal production, but have landed UFA winger Krys Barch from the Panthers to bolster their bottom six forwards. Barch will battle their incumbent fourth line of Stephen Gionta, Steve Bernier and Ryan Carter and possibly play on the third line ... Winger Ruslan Fedotenko is back with the team he started in the NHL with more than a decade ago, signing with the Flyers ... Fired Edmonton head coach Tom Renney will be an associate with Detroit ... Another round of CBA talks between the league and players began Thursday in New York, continuing until Friday.