Predators: feature on Ryan Suter

By Brian Roe

Ryan Suter may be known for his name for
now, but Nashville fans will eventually know him for his game.

The first defenseman taken
in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft is already known because of the name on the back of
his jersey – Suter.

But Ryan
, son of 1980 Olympic gold medal-winning Bob Suter and nephew of
accomplished and retired  defenseman Gary Suter, wants to be known for
something besides his name.

  His game.

Suter plays a strong game in
both the offensive and defensive zone and is widely considered as a future
quarterback of the power play.  Though
he is known for his superior two-way skills on the ice, he summarizes himself as
a physical player who plays with a mean streak.

“I’m a competitor, said
Suter. “I like to battle and if I need to be mean, I’ll try to be that

nt-size:11.0pt”>The mean streak is evident
through his stats: 47 games, 114 penalty minutes in 2002-03. 
But also evident is the talent Suter possesses. 

Suter is a strong skater,
who was blessed with gifts of vision and anticipation while on the ice. 
The 6-1 defenseman netted eight goals and 19 assists for the U.S.
National Under-18 team last year. 

Suter is every coach’s
dream.  He is intelligent, well-conditioned, a good decision-maker, a
competitor and most importantly a determined young man.

Suter was determined to be
the first defensemen drafted this year.  And
even though he battled the nerves of sitting through the first six picks, his
wish came through.

“I was wondering which
team would draft me,” Suter said. “I was kind of getting anxious, but it was
awesome [being the first defensemen taken].”

In the same way, Suter is
determined to get to Nashville and help the team get to the playoffs and beyond.  He was the second defensemen taken in three years and with
the Predators rebuilding its blueline on the pro level, Suter is a definite in
the future plans of the Nashville Predators.

Finally, Ryan is determined
to set the Suter record straight.  He
is not at all worried about the name on the back of the jersey but rather the
game he intends to play in an NHL jersey.

“Everyone seems to think
there is added pressure because of my family connection, but I don’t at
all,” Suter said. “I’m just going out there and having fun.”

The 18-year-old from
Wisconsin might be the latest hit in Music City, but don’t expect to see him
in Nashville this season.  Suter is
planning on playing at the University of Wisconsin beginning this fall.

No matter where he plays
this season, the Predators have big plans for its newest prospect. 
And it’s not because of his name, but his game.

Nashville News and Notes

Marek Zidlicky

has finally signed a contract with the Nashville Predators.  The 26-year-old defenseman is expected to come in and fill a
role similar to Andy Delmore’s last season. 
The Predators are hoping, that Zidlicky, unlike Delmore, will play both
offensively and defensively.  The
5-11 defensemen was tied for fifth in the SM-Liiga
Finnish league with 47 points and was second in the league with 37 assists. 
Zidlicky was acquired last December from the New York Rangers, along with
Tomas Kloucek, in the Mike Dunham trade.  Zidlicky
and Kloucek are both favorites to earn spots on defense for the Predators next

The Washington Capitals signed former Nashville prospect Petr
to a one-year contract last week. 
Sykora, who was originally drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 is a
6-3, 206-pound center and still an intriguing prospect who could have an impact
on the Capitals this season.  The Predators dealt the Czech forward because he wanted a one-way contract and Nashville offered a
two-way contract.  In exchange for
Sykora, the Predators received a third-round draft pick, which the team used to
acquire winger Paul Brown with the 89th
overall pick in 2003.

The Predators stock-piling
of draft picks continues with the trades of Andy Delmore to Buffalo and Karlis
Skrastins to Colorado.  Nashville
received a 2004 third-round draft pick for each of the former Predators
defensemen.  Nashville also owns
Anaheim’s fourth and fifth round selections in next year’s draft in exchange
for its 2003 fourth round pick (the pick was defensemen Nathan
, the 119th overall pick in the 2003 draft). 

Curtis Murphy has also been
signed by the Predators.  The
reigning AHL Defenseman of the Year led the AHL in goals by a defenseman and
helped the Houston Aeros win the 2003 Calder Cup. 
The 5-8 blueliner was acquired from the Minnesota Wild for Petr Smrek
on June 26.