Fresh off the heels of the release of this month's The Hockey News magazine that insinuates that the Nashville Predators may have trouble retaining its three most prominent players, Pekka Rinne's agent Jay Grossman (@JayGrossman) has announced that the goaltender has signed a 7-year contract extension worth $49 million.
Conveniently, the timing of the announcement was made on Rinne's 29th birthday. Based on Capgeek's numbers, with an annual average cap hit of $7M, Rinne's extension will make him the highest paid goaltender per season and single-handedly trumps any birthday present that I have ever received.
From the Nashville Predators:
“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.”
I have taken the liberty of running GM David Poile's statement through Puck Drunk Love's patented GM TranslatorTM and it simply reads, "Suck it THN."
The extension is well deserved. Last season, the Finnish goaltender finished second in voting for the 2011 Vezina Trophy and fourth in voting for the 2011 Hart Trophy, in addition to being named to the 2010-11 NHL Second All-Star Team. Rinne ranked second among NHL netminders in save percentage (.930), third in goals-against average (2.12) and tied for sixth in shutouts (6) in 2010-11, with the save percentage and goals-against average numbers setting franchise records.
With a career record of 100-58-20 that includes a 2.50 GAA, a .920 SV% and 22 shutouts, the only negative thing that you can say about the guy is that he's not married to Carrie Underwood.
Credit has to be given to the Predators organization for locking up such a valuable part of the roster. As an impending unrestricted free agent, Rinne was headed for a big pay on July 1st. By signing Rinne so early in the season, not only do the Predators resolve their long-term goaltending situation, they also remove what could have been major distraction for the team later on in the season.
Now that Rinne's status is no longer troubling, Poile can now focus on re-signing defencemen Ryan Suter and Shea Weber.
WOW, huge overpay. No way he's worth that much money! Especially not for a franchise in financial trouble. Ridiculous.
Of the other two, they gotta keep Suter.
The Rinne signing makes things interesting. They could empty the bank trying to sign Suter or Weber but the logical thing to do would be to pick one and trade the other. Additionally, they have a promising young goaltender as the backup in Lindback. So the big question is - who do you sign and how do you maximize the return for what you're letting go?
Would Nashville be willing to be sellers at the trading deadline if they put a combo of Weber/Lindback or Suter/Lindback on the market? David Poile would HAVE to ask for a king's ransom in order to stabilize the franchise for years to come. Top target would be a offensive minded forward. Maybe call up the Devils?
@icetheoffice I love the size of Lindback. Like seemingly every other young Swedish goaltender that's coming into the league, the kid is huge. (6'6")
@icetheoffice I definitely think the Devils should be drooling over trying to acquire Lindback.
@KellyPuckDrunk If I'm Poile, I start targeting trade partners. I wait until the trade deadline and then drive the asking price through the roof. A 23 year old goalie who has the potential to be a franchise goalie? Let the negotiations begin.
@icetheoffice Totally agree, and same goes for Suter/Weber, but I could see them hanging onto both of them to try to have some more playoff success and then dealing their rights before July 1st.
@Tim6thSens I think the organization could get away with re-signing Suter and then trading Shea Weber's RFA rights in the offseason. Suter's a good player and Weber has an unbelievable amount of name value. He'd probably return a small fortune in assets.
@Tim6thSens Suter or Weber or the franchise is gone. They can't keep all three without spending over their budget. They can barely stay afloat as a floor team, let alone spending to the ceiling.
@KellyPuckDrunk Anyone have any idea how much their annual revenue is? Those playoff appearances can't hurt.
@Tim6thSens They're bleeding money. Forbes ranked the 27th most valuable NHL franchise. http://www.forbes.com/lists/2010/31/hockey-valuations-10_Nashville-Predators_310472.html