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Predators sign Paul Gaustad to a four-year deal

Jun 30, 2012, 8:36 PM EDT

Photograph by: John Russell, NHLI via Getty Images Getty Images

Paul Gaustad won’t be testing the free agent market on Sunday. The Nashville Predators waited until the 11th hour to do it but, according to the Tennessean’s Josh Cooper, they have locked up Gaustad to a four-year, $13 million contract extension.

This comes as a bit of a surprise as Gaustad’s agent previously made it sound like he would still be available on July 1. Still, this deal represents a substantial raise over his 2011-12 salary of $2.5 million.

The Nashville Predators surrendered a first-round pick in order to pry Gaustad away from the Buffalo Sabres at the trade deadline. He should be primarily regarded as a third or fourth-line center, but he’s good at what he does.

He’s particularly impressive on the draw and maintained a 57.3 faceoff winning percentage in 2011-12. He should continue to provide the Predators with some depth and bolster their defense.

  1. tarotsujimoto74 - Jun 30, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    Would have loved to bring him back to Buffalo, but he was overpaid at 2.3 per. This contract is ridiculous.

    • elemeno89 - Jul 1, 2012 at 10:33 AM

      You know though, he’s one of those players where I’m happy to see him sign such a big contact. I would have liked to see him in buffalo again too, but regier has moved on from requiring his services. He fills a gap that nkachsille needs apparently enough where they would offer him this type of cash. Good for you Paul, you deserve that type of money and contract.

    • elemeno89 - Jul 1, 2012 at 10:38 AM

      I guess I should explain. He’s a great shut down and fceoff msn who puts his d above most offensive priorities. Plus he has a little grind to him which never hurts

  2. williplett - Jun 30, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    So he got a $750k a year raise AND a four year deal after the worst season of his career AND after doing absolutely nothing in the playoffs. Yikes!

    Things are going to get obscene tomorrow.

    • zaksyuk - Jun 30, 2012 at 9:38 PM

      Maybe his number’s but they are paying him to be a 3rd line center and hes great on draws. Darren helm got a similar deal and no one complained.

      • williplett - Jun 30, 2012 at 9:58 PM

        Good on draws but he got a long term deal and a pretty decent raise after a terrible season-my point is that we can expect insanity tomorrow.

        Also, Helm is five years younger, came off a better year, is arguably a better player and signed a deal of the same length for $4.5 million less than the Gaustad. That is why people have already-and will continue-to be talking about how Nashville overpaid on $$$ and years here.

  3. babar61 - Jun 30, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    Ryan miller wants an explanation.

  4. williplett - Jun 30, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    So he got a $750k a year raise AND a four year deal after the worst season of his career AND after doing absolutely nothing in the playoffs. Yikes!

    Things are going to get obscene tomorrow.

    • williplett - Jun 30, 2012 at 9:02 PM

      Sorry for the DP, but it does bare repeating: this signing is crazy. A three million dollar raise after a seven goal season and a playoff vanishing act? Crazy.

  5. sjsharks66 - Jun 30, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    I agree, this deal is stupid.

  6. rsl22 - Jun 30, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    Gaustad got $3.25MM per year? For four years?

    In the 24 games he played for Nashville last year, he had exactly 1 goal. In his 7 seasons in the league, he has averaged 10 goals per year, popping a total of 7 last year. 7 goals! $3.25MM!

    Alex Semin, in his six seasons since the lockout, has averaged 31 goals a year. While it’s true he had a pretty mediocre season with just 21 last year….if Gaustad got $3.25MM to be a 4th liner, I can’t wait to see who offers Semin $8MM.

    Parise must love that, dude is gonna get a $10MM offer from the Wild. Suter must look at that and just be in shock that the Preds would pony up $3.25MM for Gaustad, a rental player who didn’t do d— for them, before they took care of locking him down.

    • rsl22 - Jun 30, 2012 at 11:38 PM

      I apologize for my shock, but here’s another “comparable”…Dustin Brown, captain of Stanley Cup winning LA Kings has cap hit of $3.175MM, less than Gaustad! Brown has averaged over 23 goals/year (more than double Gaustad), had 8 in the playoffs, more than Gaustad had all season, hasn’t missed a game in over three seasons while averaging around 81 games played per season or something.

      I thought the Preds would have been so happy to see how overpaid Joel Ward was and how they dodged a bullet on that one….guess not.

      • epictron1 - Jul 1, 2012 at 1:06 AM

        How can you use Dustin Brown as a comparison? He signed his contract before the 08-09 season. If you really want to compare it to a contract, look at Max Talbot’s contract. He’s a third line player and is making less then $2 million a year.

        If I was to sign a player for $3 million a year, he better be scoring 15 to 20 goals a year, along with his defensive and faceoff skills.

      • danphipps01 - Jul 1, 2012 at 2:57 AM

        And I’d still take Talbot over Gaustad. Gaustad’s never stepped up and had a two-goal night to win the last game of the Stanley Cup Final. Talbot’s got some crazy clutch moments on his resume, and he’s a dangerous, aggressive PK anchor.

        Man, the more we analyze, the worse this deal gets, huh? Gaustad has never, EVER been worth three million dollars a year. He’s not even worth two.

  7. riles1008 - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    As a sabres fan I agree, he’s not worth it but he’s a piece to a puzzle. Defensively he’s shutdown. You put him in the other teams first line and he will neutralize them. He’s a leader and an example setter for hard work and positive play and attitude. Again, I do agree he’s being overpaid but I do know his “skill set” lies outside of the statistic norm.

    • williplett - Jul 1, 2012 at 1:33 AM

      Kudos for being one of the few people I’ve come across tonight saying positive things about him that are actually tied to his style of play instead of just saying “He’s a good guy, good for him!”. That said, he’s coming off of a season where he had a minus +/- number (minus one, but still…) and it wasn’t like he was a Selke finalist or anything. Plus, one goal in 48 career playoff games is so bad it kind of eclipses any talk of gritty leadership, size or skill sets that lie outside of statistical norms; the guy just flat out can’t score and he proves it at the worst possible time over and over again.

      The decision to lock him up for four years might be the killer more so than the dollars spent, though. Two years from now, when he’s slower on the draw and even slower on his skates, who is going to want a 32 year old 4th line center who puts up 20 points and has a $3.25mil cap hit?

      • danphipps01 - Jul 1, 2012 at 2:59 AM

        Exactly. This is dead weight for WAY too long. Guy’s not even going to be in the NHL by 34-35, and he’d probably find his way out sooner if not for this.

  8. scionofflame - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:57 AM

    Predators need to spend to reach the cap floor, and they’ve got two last BIG boys to play money on. Gaustad represents more than stats on a page. We’ve also got a lot of young centermen he can teach, and we need a guy who’s good in faceoffs. Gaustad is.

    I trust the Preds management know what they’re doing, considering the other moves they usually make. We’ll just have to see how it turns out, won’t we?

  9. thedavesiknowiknow - Jul 1, 2012 at 4:42 AM

    Exhibit A on why the NHL needs to lose another year to another lockout to become more than a niche sport again.

  10. natlbnkilr - Jul 1, 2012 at 8:01 AM

    Goose is worth the money to the Preds… he’s a character player with a unique skillset and a great leader on/off the ice for the young players. keep putting the deal down… but I think it’s gonna pay off big in the years time come.

  11. rsl22 - Jul 1, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    So I was criticized for saying that Dustin Brown makes less than Gaustad. To redeem myself, I’ve put together a list of a few players I truly believe are comparable, as well as Talbot and Helm who were mentioned above. I believe all of these guys signed prior to 2011-12 season, so these are fair assessments of value in my opinion. I hope this post is still being read, because I looked far too deeply into mediocre player’s statistics for this to go without a few thoughts:

    Paul Gaustad (USA) – Center – 6’5, 220lbs – Round 7, 220th overall in 2000 draft – 7 goals in 2012 – +/- of -1 – 57.3% win percentage (7th in league) on 1150 faceoffs taken – 47 blocked shots (63rd in league) – 2:45 minutes shorthanded ice time per game (9th in league) – 0 shorthanded goals – 16 powerplay goals scored against while on ice.

    David Steckel (USA) – Center – 6’5, 217lbs – Round 1, 30th overall in 2001 draft – 8 goals in 2012 – +/- of -14 – 58% win percentage (6th in league) on 1108 faceoffs taken – 66 blocked shots (21st in league) – 2:17 minutes shorthanded ice time per game (29th in league) – 2 shorthanded goals – 24 powerplay goals scored against while on ice.

    Boyd Gordon (CAN) – Center – 6’0, 195lbs – Round 1, 17th overall in 2002 draft – 8 goals in 2012 – +/- of +9 – 56.8% win percentage (8th in league) on 1177 faceoffs taken – 86 blocked shots (4th in league) – 2:53 minutes shorthanded ice time per game (5th in league) – 1 shorthanded goal – 21 powerplay goals scored against while on ice.

    Max Talbot (CAN) – Center – 5’11, 190lbs – Round 8, 234th overall in 2002 draft – 19 goals in 2012 – +/- of +5 – 44% win percentage (awful-th in league) on 640 faceoffs taken – 58 blocked shots (31st in league) – 3:29 minutes shorthanded ice time per game (1st in league) – 2 shorthanded goals – 33 powerplay goals scored against while on ice.

    Darren Helm (CAN) – Center – 5’11, 192lbs – Round 5, 132nd overall in 2005 draft – 9 goals in 2012 – +/- of +5 – 51.9% win percentage (36th in league) on 777 faceoffs taken – 27 blocked shots (same number as Patrick Kane) – 2:17 minutes shorthanded ice time per game (29th in league) – 0 shorthanded goals – 20 powerplay goals scored against while on ice.

    Paul Gaustad – 2012-13 Cap Hit – $3.25MM
    David Steckel – 2012-13 Cap Hit – $1.1MM
    Boyd Gordon – 2012-13 Cap Hit – $1.325MM
    Max Talbot – 2012-13 Cap Hit – $1.75MM
    Darren Helm – 2012-13 Cap Hit – $2.125MM

    Sorting through these numbers, five thoughts come to mind:

    (1) Boyd Gordon is probably well underpaid – he really appears to have all the “intangibles” that a 3C, penalty-killing and faceoff specialist should have. His back problems are probably the main reason why he is so under-the-radar in the league.
    (2) Flyers nailed it when they signed Talbot, who by these measures is both a huge bargain, and was clearly being under-utilized in Pittsburgh. However, he clearly needs to learn how to take a draw.
    (3) David Steckel has extremely similar numbers to Gaustad, but is being paid 1/3 of what Gaustad is.
    (4) Paul Gaustad is overpaid. I think the only number I’m impressed with is that he was only on the ice for 16 powerplay goals against in 192:53 minutes of shorthanded ice time. I’ll admit, that is really quite good. However, I think it needs to be clear that he had Ryan Miller and Pekka Rinne as his goalies, and Buffalo was a much better team and made a run for the playoffs after he left town.
    (4) Is Darren Helm overrated? His numbers aren’t exactly special.

  12. richc111 - Jul 1, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    He is a good solid player and does everything but score, but that ain’t the role he plays. Kills penalties, good in the corners, in front of the net and face offs. He works hard and don’t take days off. It is good to see someone get paid for something other than scoring. Hey, is he overpaid, probably but who isn’t in the league.

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