Featuring Robby Stanley from Hockey Night in Nashville, Amanda DiPaolo from Inside Smashville, JR Lind from the Nashville Scene and Nashville Post, Dirk Hoag and Marc Torrence from On the Forecheck, Kris Martel from The Predatorial, Buddy Oakes from Preds on the Glass, Jeremy K. Gover from Section303.com, Ryan Porth from Smashville 24/7 and Mark Willoughby from The View from 111.
After a series of social media missteps, Titan Sports Management has not demonstrated the know-how to negotiate a major NHL contract.
With the resigning of Sergei Kostitsyn, the Predators have managed to avoid any major negative impact from the impending qualifying offer hearing. Since all players that would be appearing on Nashville’s roster in 2011-12 locked down, the result of the NHLPA’s grievance will most likely have little effect on the Predators organization.
However, the hearing may still occur due to the fact that Linus Klasen (who is returning to Sweden) and Andreas Thuresson (who is now property of the New York Rangers) have not signed contracts. The only potential snag is if Thuresson is ruled to be an unrestricted free agent. In this case, the trade with New York could be nullified, meaning that Brodie Dupont would return to the Rangers organization.
The return of SK74 means that the Predators get their leading scorer back. Since he signed a one year deal, it means that Kostitsyn will be a restricted free agent again next summer. However, it also means that Kostitsyn should put up another “contract year” performance.
Kostitsyn’s signing leaves only one major offseason hurdle for David Poile to focus on – the resigning of Shea Weber.
Press release after the jump.
The good news – the Predators have resigned Nick Spaling, Matt Halischuk, Cal O’Reilly and Chris Mueller. Spaling and Halischuk are both locked down for the next two years, while O’Reilly and Mueller each have a one year deal. Mueller, who spent the majority of the season in Milwaukee, will be on a two-way contract.
The better news – because all of these players have been locked down, the NHLPA’s grievance is, for the most part, moot. These four players, along with Linus Klasen, Andreas Thuresson and Sergei Kostitsyn, were the players whose qualifying offers were allegedly turned in late. Since Klasen is headed to Sweden and Thuresson is now part of the New York Rangers system, only Kostitsyn remains.
Of course, the bad news is that Kostitsyn’s remains status remains up in the air. The highest scoring Predators last year, Kostitsyn probably would have gone to arbitration anyway and the Predators probably would have signed him to a two year deal for whatever the arbitrator awarded him, provided it was within reason. In other words, if the qualifying offer situation had been resolved already, then arbitration would have been a formality for the most part. It’s almost a given that the Predators want to bring Kostitsyn back, but the potential now hangs in the air that he could become an unrestricted free agent.
Regardless of the looming NHLPA arbitration for Kostitsyn (and potentially the rights to Linus Klasen), the sound you hear coming from 501 Broadway is a major sigh of relief.
Press release after the jump.
While Tuesday’s signings of Zack Stortini and Kyle Wilson weren’t exactly groundbreaking or earth-shattering, they did provide the Predators with some more depth at forward.
Stortini, the epitome of an enforcer, comes to the Predators’ system from the Oilers organization. In his 256 NHL games with Edmonton, he has racked up an impressive 718 penalty minutes. Most likely, Stortini is being brought in to provide physicality and to potentially compete for the enforcer spot that Wade Belak vacated. Stortini does bring slightly more offensive ability than Belak…but then again, so does Pekka Rinne. Signed to a two-way contract, Stortini almost blatantly comes in as an experiment – a depth forward who can be shipped back to Milwaukee if there is no role for him in Nashville.
Wilson, on the other hand, could legitimately end up on Nashville’s roster. College teammate of PuckScene.com favorite Mark Dekanich, Wilson has been a decent scorer in the American Hockey league, playing with the San Antonio Rampage the Hershey Bears and the Springfield Falcons, he has racked up 251 points (119 G – 132 A) in 321 games. While he hasn’t managed to stick on in the NHL, he has appeared in 34 NHL games for the Capitals and Blue Jackets, picking up 13 points (4 G -9 A). Even if he fails to make the NHL roster, his proficiency in the AHL should be an asset to Milwaukee.
Press releases after the jump.
With the pick up of Niclas Bergfors, the Predators may see lightning strike twice.
Much like last season’s pick-up of Sergei Kostitsyn, David Poile has managed to pick up a young forward with high-scoring potential for a low dollar, short term contract. Bergfors had become an unrestricted free agent on Friday due to Florida not giving him a qualifying offer.
In what amounts to the equivalent of two full seasons in the league, Bergfors has scored 81 points (34 G – 47 A), which is exactly a half-point per game. In the right situation, Bergfors could become a 50-point player – an asset that the Predators have been relatively short on in the past couple of seasons.
The major knock on Bergfors is a lack of physicality and an aversion to playing defense – Sergei Kostitsyn had similar knocks against him last season. However, Bergfors is considered a goal scorer, albeit one who may not have figured out how to utilize his tools yet. Clearly, the Predators are hoping that they can bring the scorer out.
Even if the Bergfors “experiment” does not succeed, it’s a one-year salary that is barely above the league minimum. If he doesn’t work, he can be cut loose and barely register a blip on the radar.
Press release after the jump.
Mark Dekanich may have finally found his path to the NHL.
The 25-year old Milwaukee Admirals goaltender signed a one-year, one-way contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. The deal guarantees him almost 10 times as much money as he was making in Milwaukee…not a bad weekend for someone who is also getting married on Saturday.
Stuck in an almost impossible situation last season in the Predators organization behind Pekka Rinne and Anders Lindback, Dekanich managed to put up extremely impressive numbers during his All Star season in Milwaukee. During the 2010-11 campaign, “Dex” finished 3rd in the AHL in GAA with 2.02 and 1st in save percentage with a 0.931. Until a knee injury ended his season prematurely, he was quite possibly the best goalie in the American Hockey League. In addition, he saw a few games in Nashville and made it into a game against the Kings in which he played 50 minutes of relief.
The Colgate alum had a remarkable bounce back from last season, in which his struggles in net actually forced the Predators to send him to the ECHL for a weekend – a weekend in which he only let in one goal and managed to gather up ECHL player of the week.
“I’ve never been handed anything in my career,” Dekanich said last season. “I’ve always been overlooked and sort of the underdog in a lot of ways and that experience was no exception.”
Playing with a chip on his shoulder, he is probably the hardest worker on any team on which he plays.
While he would never admit it, signing with Columbus was most likely a very calculated decision – Steve Mason is currently the starting goaltender in Columbus, but has struggled mightily since his Calder Trophy year in 2008-2009. Dekanich has the work ethic to become a number one goaltender in the NHL and Steve Mason’s position may be prime for the taking.
It is quite possible that on October 7, when the Predators come to Columbus for the season opener, Mark Dekanich will be making his first career start against the team that drafted him 146th overall in 2006.
Press releases from Milwaukee and Columbus after the jump.
UPDATE: The Tennessean’s Joshua Cooper has reported via Twitter that the NHLPA has officially filed a grievance against the Predators.
PuckScene.com has confirmed this independently through an NHLPA spokesperson.
The NHLPA is currently reviewing the timing of the qualifying offers submitted by the Nashville Predators, Jonathan Weatherdon, Director of Communications for the NHLPA, confirmed to PuckScene.com on Wednesday afternoon. No player names were mentioned.
The players listed in both Nick Kypreos’ tweet and in Andy Strickland’s original report were Cal O’Reilly, Nick Spaling, Matt Halischuk and Sergei Kostitsyn. David Poile informed Jeremy Gover of Section303.com last week that the Predators had re-signed O’Reilly, but no formal announcement has been released by the team.
Both the Nashville Predators and the NHL have stated that they believe that all paperwork was handed in by the team on time and in the proper manner.
By filing for arbitration, the team may have avoided a franchise-changing blunder.