The Nashville Predators have a ton of players that need offers tendered to them by July 1st, which makes people more pre-occupied with the fact of re-signing players now…but what about the ramifications?
Among all of the unrestricted and restricted free agents that general manager David Poile and his group have on their plate, their are nine players that are of the highest priority:
Goc, O’Brien, Sullivan, Ward, Halischuk, Kostitsyn, O’Reilly, Spaling, Weber
With these players tenatively “off the books” for the Predators, Nashville currently has 18.5 million in cap space to play with (if they go to the ceiling) and potentially 4 extra million from the increased salary cap here soon. This leaves the Predators with 22 million in potential cap money spend, however everyone knows that Nashville most likely will not spend towards the ceiling but will leave a good bit of padding there (in the past, somewhere usually around 10 million).
Yet, this upcoming season, I believe Nashville’s ownership needs to take a step forward and lower their padding level and show everyone again that they are a serious bunch. Even if they do, you can’t just look at THIS year’s team layout, you HAVE to look at a couple years down the road, as certain potential contracts may have the ability to affect the long-term status of the Nashville Predators.
Most likely, in this blogger’s opinion, Shea Weber will be the first domino to fall in the pending free agents this year and he will be the largest domino to fall.
Currently, Weber is on the end of a 3 year/$13.5-million dollar deal. Let’s say, for arguments sake, that:
Weber is given a 6 year/$40-million dollar deal. This would have Shea’s cap hit at around $6.667 million a year
Ok, so now the Predators have around $15 million left.
Nashville doesn’t re-sign Shane O’Brien, Joel Ward, or Steve Sullivan
Nashville doesn’t tender offers to Cal O’Reilly
Nashville re-signs Marcel Goc, Sergei Kostitsyn, Nick Spaling, and Matt Halischuk:
Marcel Goc we’ll say gets a 2 year/$2.25-million dollar deal
Sergei Kostitsyn we’ll say gets a 3 year/$6-million dollar deal
Nick Spaling we’ll say gets a 3 year/$2.7-million dollar deal
Matt Halischuk we’ll say gets a 3 year/$2.2-million dollar deal
This encompasses about $5-million in cap space.
So, Nashville has around $10 million left in cap space.
Now, let’s speculate that Nashville goes after a big free agent out there to make a splash on a top-6 forward, and perhaps gives up another 4-5 million in cap space.
That would leave Nashville with around $5 left in cap space, looking fairly well for the upcoming season, however what about AFTER next season?
Nashville has just about another $18-million coming back to them from more free agents (about $4-million of that coming off of J.P. Dumont’s contract, if he’s still playing with the team by then), but there will be NINE absolutely HUGE free agents to sign NEXT season:
If Nashville wants to keep the majority of these players, they may have to spend to the cap to do so.
You’ll have to assume Rinne/Suter may get really close to matching contracts with Shea Weber, as they will be on that level. Blum/Geoffrion will get contracts as well, as you don’t want to lose such young and great prospects. Bouillon will probably be gone and possibly Wilson as well. Which leaves Tootoo, Franson, and Lindback, who I’m on the fence about all three. I’ll say this though, if Mark Dekanich is re-signed, Lindback may soon become trade bait.
Ultimately, what I am getting at, is that there is a MUCH bigger picture than most of us are looking at, myself included. Not until this morning did I realize, “Umm…what is Nashville going to do after next season?”
If I have JUST realized it, I certainly don’t envy David Poile, these are the things that haunt his dreams. However, in my opinion, Poile and his team of mavericks have yet to let the Nashville faithful down. It’s just another reason why Poile is continually a finalist for General Manager of the Year, he does the absolute best with what he has on his plate