Ryan Suter remains cryptic <br>about his future</br>

The Globe and Mail

Nashville Predators' Ryan Suter takes a swipe at the puck during the first period of their NHL hockey game against the Calgary Flames in Calgary on Sunday. (TODD KOROL/Reuters)

He may not be the most high profile member of the Nashville Predators, but he is expected to be the one most talked about this summer.

And when he met with the media on Wednesday to close out his season, Ryan Suter wasn't tipping his hand as to what his future plans might be.

"I haven’t really had time to sit back and talk with my family and figure out what we want to do," Suter told Josh Cooper at The Tennessean. "This morning I had a meeting with David (Poile) and we talked about everything and the future, and how everything will go, and I think we’re going to meet again in a couple of weeks and kind of make a decision.

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"Wherever I sign I want to be there for the rest of my career, and that affects my family, my wife, my kid, if we have more kids, everything plays into it."

Along with New Jersey Devils star Zach Parise, Suter is going to be one of the two most highly sought after free agents if he makes it to July 1, with at least a handful of teams ready to pony up a very large, long-term contract to bring him in.

Not as big of a point producer as his defence partner, Shea Weber, Suter nonetheless is considered just as valuable to the Preds, as he logged 26.5 minutes a night this season (third highest in the NHL) and is plus-35 over the last two years combined.

Suter also has more points over the last four seasons than all but 10 others.

He may only be 27 years old, but there's the potential for one of those huge homerun contracts here, depending on how fierce the bidding is. The Detroit Red Wings are believed to be the front-runners (especially if Nick Lidstrom retires) while the Minnesota Wild are close to his hometown of Madison, Wis.

Any other team that needs help on the blueline is expected to be interested, as the free agent crop isn't deep beyond Suter, Matt Carle and Dennis Wideman.

If Suter wants to, he can hold out for an Ilya Kovalchuk type deal (in terms of length and structure, not cap hit) that will take him until the end of his career.

Just look at the absurd 10-year, $40-million contract Christian Ehrhoff signed with the Buffalo Sabres last summer as a starting point and Duncan Keith's 13-year, $72-million one as a potential comparable.

With only one summer left under this collective bargaining agreement, Suter's may be the last of these type of deals, as the league wants to place a cap on contracts at five or six years.