The signing of Ryan Suter by the Minnesota Wild may have unintended consequences for the rest of the league. Other than the rest of the league still having to play against Ryan Suter. According to the internets, Shea Weber isn’t happy. Or, at least, Shea Weber is in something resembling a state of shock. The money quote, from Pierre LeBrun:
“He’s still in disbelief,” said Kevin Epp. “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.”
Now, before we (I) start jumping to conclusions about what this means for the future of the Predators and Shea Weber, let’s just all admit that this could mean a number of different things or nothing at all. There are still many options on the table for Weber as it relates to his future in Nashville and by no means is there any guarantee that something seismic is about to happen with one of the league’s best defensemen.
However, what it has done is demonstrate something which I like to call indirect value. This sounds like a math term, I can almost guarantee you this isn’t a math term because I can barely add (though, it might be a math term now that I think about it. How would I know?). Indirect value is pretty simple; it’s what a player gives you that isn’t measured on the ice/field/court/whatever.
I don’t mean in the sense of a leader in the locker room or “energy guys” or other things that people like to say to make it seem like they know what they’re talking about, I mean in the sense of real, human things that affect professional athletes (they’re just like us!). However, I assure you that I don’t know what I’m talking about and I am saying these things in spite of that.
Allow me to put my baseball hat on for just a second (I promise). An in-office debate today was struck up about what the Blue Jays should do with JP Arencibia. He and Brett Lawrie are clearly great friends and from a PR standpoint, Arencibia is well-liked, in tons of marketing and keeps core piece Lawrie happy. Is he a guy you keep purely for these reasons? Or do you trade him for market value?
This idea speaks to Weber and Suter as well. Should the Predators have opted to overpay for Suter (even more so than the Wild did) to keep their star defenseman happy and to keep their key defensive tandem intact? Other than the obvious preservation of talent on the Predators blue line, it would also keep the Preds on the course that brought them to the Western Conference Semi-Finals this year. As Weber (or his agent) said – “they were so close this year,” a statement I believe to be absolutely true (I have and will always believe that Coyotes team was a fraud and just found a way through. I had the Preds going to the Finals. I am also wrong a lot.)
In my humble opinion, and as the creator of the indirect value…value, I believe that the Preds should have done everything in their power to keep Suter in a Nashville uniform which, for all I know, they may have done (and if reports that Parise and Suter have wanted to play together for a while are to be believed, there may have been nothing they could do about it).
However, aside from this idea of indirect value that I just made up, hockey has a recent history of keeping certain duos together that have proven beneficial to the respective teams. The most glaring example is Vancouver choosing to keep the Sedin twins and their mutant-like telepathy together as well as the Los Angeles Kings deciding that reuniting Jeff Carter and Mike Richards was a good idea. Obviously, these deals helped both teams as all of Richards, Carter and the Sedins are very good at hockey but the marked improvement in the play of both Carter and Richards post-Carter trade speak to keeping tandems together as much as possible (and extends to the sibling reunions we have seen this summer as well). Keeping good players on your team in packs is generally a sound strategy for building a winner, as is keeping players who have developed a rhythm together on the ice at the same time. This is not news, yet I’m telling you anyway. Because that’s what I’m here for. Aren’t you glad I exist?
This could all be moot in a few short weeks if Weber decides to re-up with the Predators. I actually believe this will happen, regardless of what went down with Suter, because if Weber believes this much in the Preds chances and what they’ve built, I don’t see him abandoning the plan just yet. However, don’t discount the indirect value that Suter had on both Weber and the Predators. It may not be as easy to replace as plugging in another blueliner.