More Bargain Contracts From the Nashville Predators

There has been an ongoing series over at NBC Sports’ ProHockeyTalk where James O’Brien takes a look at each NHL team’s best bargain contracts. The only two players that made the cut for the Nashville Predators were Pekka Rinne and Ryan Suter who next season will be making $3.4 million and $3.5 million dollars respectively. Clearly both of these are extremely talented hockey players. What is also clear is that they both only have a single season left on their contracts are due sizable raises when the 2012 offseason arrives. Those aren’t the only bargain contracts on the Predators roster, and I am hardly surprised that Mr. O’Brien overlooked some of Poile’s deft signings. 

 Shea explains to
David what a goalie does.
Pekka helps out.
When evaluating a player and what he is worth you have to pay attention to what special skills that individual brings to the team. David Legwand proved last season that he is one of the best players in the league at scoring empty net goals. He finished the 2010-2011 season scoring 4 empty net goals, tying with superstar Alex Ovechkin and finish behind Brandon Dubinsky and Milan Lucic. That is quite the company to hold, and Legwand’s salary of $4.5 million clearly reflects his unique talent at scoring on the empty net. During the Stanely Cup Playoffs the Predators certainly saw his skill come to the forefront when David clinched the franchise’s first ever series win with his empty netter at the end of game 6 against the Anaheim Ducks. Fortunately Nashville has him under contract through the 2013-2014 season where they hope he continues to exercise his full abilities. 

"...and that's how many Slovaks it takes
to change a light bulb"
It is a rare day when a franchise is able to lock up a player that brims with raw talent, professional quality highlights, and endearing good looks. That is exactly what the Nashville Predators found in Martin Erat. The Czech forward more than earned his $5.25 million salary last season through his signature inconsistent and frustrating play. The organization and fans hope to see the enigmatic koala faced Erat become additionally infuriating and spin-prone as his salary jumps up to a deserving $6 million. It is also reassuring that the Preds will be able to continue to know exactly what they shouldn’t know to expect from Erat has his yearly salary declines. The ultimate value is that despite his high paid salary over the next few seasons is tempered by the very reasonable $4.5 million cap hit.

It certainly looks like GM David Poile had an eye on a bright future for the franchise when he signed both Legwand and Erat to long-term contracts in the summer of 2008. With a great number of UFAs and RFAs to deal with next summer, I for one hope that we can see more great work from David Poile in securing the future of the team and establish more franchise players to truly stunning contracts.

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