Nov 3, 2011, 1:00 PM EDT
Usually you get a cake and some nice gifts and a gathering with friends on your birthday. Nashville’s Pekka Rinne got to celebrate in style signing a seven-year contract extension worth $49 million. That deal offers a mathematically simple $7 million cap hit per year, the largest for a goalie in NHL history.
The Predators have notoriously been one of the more frugal teams in the NHL but with next offseason shaping up to be a potentially franchise-altering one with both Rinne and Ryan Suter being unrestricted free agents and Shea Weber headed for restricted free agency again, GM David Poile opted to rid themselves of one possible headache. Locking up Rinne took care of that.
At age 29, Rinne has established himself as one of the top goalies in the league. Whether you think he’s worth $7 million a season until he turns 36 is up for debate. Poile had nothing but glowing words about the signing today.
“Today’s signing is further evidence of our ownership’s commitment to keeping our core intact,” Poile said. “This is the first step of a process designed to retain our key players and leaders. Pekka has grown with our franchise, just recently established our franchise record for career shutouts and is now recognized as one of the game’s elite players. We’re thrilled to know that he will be backstopping our franchise for several years to come.”
With how seemingly easy it is to replace goalies, especially in Nashville’s system, getting Rinne done ahead of Suter and Weber is a curious move. Weber’s offseason tumult in arbitration may have caused some strife there, but with Weber making $7.5 million this year and being the team captain, you figure they’ll get him taken care of.
Suter may end up being the odd man out in Nashville because of all this. Fire up your trade rumor machines if you’d like to, but Suter is going to demand a lot of money in free agency if/when he gets there as he’s one of the better blue liners in the league. The Preds could get a nice return on Suter if they chose to deal him.
While this signing answers one question for Nashville, two big ones are left to be answered. How Poile handles things is worth watching the rest of the season and into the summer.
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