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Weber wants to stay in Nashville “if we can keep guys around”

Weber and Suter

Predators all-star defenseman Ryan Suter remains unsigned past the end of the 2011-12 season, and if you read between the lines, whether he stays or goes will be a big determining factor in whether Predators all-star defenseman Shea Weber stays or goes.

Today, Weber spoke to’s Dave Lozo about his future in Nashville.

“It’s a place I love to play,” said Weber. “If we can keep guys around and keep getting better, then it’s a place I want to stay.”

But that’s a big “if” considering Suter has the option to become an unrestricted free agent at the same time perennial contenders like Detroit and Philadelphia could be shopping for a cornerstone defenseman.

Weber, a pending restricted free agent, is eligible to become unrestricted at the end of next season. The 26-year-old is among the leading candidates to win the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman. So yeah, there’d be a market for him, too.

Nashville general manager David Poile has already locked up Pekka Rinne until 2019, signing the goalie to a $49 million contract earlier this season. But if he can’t get Suter to commit and he loses Weber as a result of that, where does that leave the Preds?

Weber also told Lozo that the Predators want to talk contract now, but he’d prefer to do it once the season is over.