Free agent defenseman Ryan Suter will not make a decision on his NHL future on Tuesday, as his agent Neil Sheehy told Kevin Allen of USA Today.
We can only assume this is Sheehy trolling the hockey world after he got a little snippy — "Why is it considered extraordinary to take a few days to make a decision?" — with those tired of the waiting games for the League's two top free agents.
The fact is that for both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the decision goes beyond potential success on the ice or a comparison of financial offers — it's about committing at least the next decade to a market, which is a decision that affects everything from family to local charity involvement. (For Parise, literacy in New Jersey, for example.)
Oh, but those financial offers. It's been reported that Parise is weighing as much as $24 million in bonus money in the first two years of his deal, which would be protected from a CBA rollback.
Suter is likely to also get bonus money up front — and the totality of his contract could make him one of the richest defensemen in NHL history.
The Detroit Red Wings and GM Ken Holland flew to Madison, WI, on Tuesday to meet with Suter. So did Minnestoa Wild owner Craig Leipold, GM Chuck Fletcher and coach Mike Yeo.
The Nashville Predators have made a "substantial offer" to Suter. Other teams like the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins remain in the hunt, with the Flyers allegedly offering 12 years and between $80 and $110 million to both Suter and Parise. The Wild have made their offer to Suter public, though not the terms.
Ansar Khan of MLive.com reported on Monday that the Red Wings' offer to Suter was a 12-year contract worth $90 million. On Tuesday, Helene St. James of the Free Press wrote that "the Wings made an offer of $80 million over 13 years to Suter on Sunday, and have since increased the money to $90 million."
The issue isn't so much money as a whole but rather the salary cap hit, as the Wings are concerned about retaining flexibility under a new collective bargaining agreement. Their top offer of $90 million averages to a cap hit of $6.9 million, which would put Suter among the leaders for defensemen.
At 13 years and $90 million, Suter's contract would eclipse that of Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks, who has a 13-year deal worth $72 million. Only Keith and Christian Ehrhoff (10 years) of the Buffalo Sabres have contract that run 10 years or more for defensemen.
But Suter's cap hit would rank him fourth among defensemen, behind Brian Campbell of the Florida Panthers ($7,142,875), Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings ($7 million) and Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins ($6,916,667). The first two players have eight-year contracts, while Chara's is seven years.
Is Suter worth the money? Chara is. Doughty, it could be argued, is. So it's not outlandish to believe that we'll look back on Suter's contract as he collects a Norris Trophy or Stanley Cup and say the investment was worth it.
Or, perhaps, he's the Pippen to Shea Weber's Jordan but gets paid like he's MJ.