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Predators CEO: “We hope to compete and not just survive in the NHL”

Aug 14, 2012, 9:00 PM EDT

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Shea Weber #6 of the Nashville Predators awaits a face off against the Phoenix Coyotes in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on April 27, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Predators 4-3 in overtime.
(April 26, 2012 - Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

Josh Cooper illustrates how much of a unique challenge the Shea Weber contract presents for the Nashville Predators in the passage below:

With Weber’s contract comes a different type of challenge, however. Forward Martin Erat’s seven-year, $31.5 million deal was the richest in Predators history. In one year, Weber will make almost the entirety of Erat’s contract.

Fairly new CEO Jeff Cogen is – in many cases – credited for getting the deal done (though he deflects that praise).

“We hope to compete and not just survive in the NHL,” Cogen said. “I would argue we are (competing).”

Cogen indicates that fans won’t need to pay too much for the Predators to stay competitive, either.

Cogen reiterated that there was no immediate plan to increase current ticket prices or change business operations. Ticket prices, Cogen said, were decided in December — long before the Weber offer sheet or free-agent defenseman Ryan Suter’s decision to reject an offer from the Predators and sign a 13-year, $98 million contract from the Wild.

“We have shown steady growth over the past couple of years in increasing ticket price, and I would argue we’re giving the fans good value for their money still,” Cogen said. “As long as we continue to do that, I’m hopeful we can have normal price increases every year.”

Cogen indicated that the Weber signing helped generate sales that were “twice as good” at an open house compared to one in 2011. Still, he admitted that phones weren’t necessarily “lighting up” after news broke.

Instead, Cogen believes that losing him would have “had a greater effect backwards” on sales.

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