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 Predators re-sign goalie Pekka Rinne to 7-year deal

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PostSubject: Predators re-sign goalie Pekka Rinne to 7-year deal   Predators re-sign goalie Pekka Rinne to 7-year deal I_icon_minitimeFri Nov 04, 2011 4:44 am

General manager David Poile recalls that when the Nashville Predators were scouting goalkeeper Pekka Rinne in Finland in 2004 the initial report wasn't flattering.
"Our scouts (said) if you want to get an eye on this goalie, you have to come to warm up, because he hardly ever plays," Poile said.

The Predators liked the way he lookcheap nfl jerseysed in the pre-game skate and drafted him in the eighth round, 258th overall, and Thursday they gave him the richest contract in Nashville hockey history, a seven-year deal worth $49 million.

"Our stated goal in Nashville is to retain our core players," Poile said. "…and this is the first step in that process. We believe as a franchise we are in a window of opportunity."

With Rinne now signed, Poile's emphasis will turn to re-signing Ryan Suter, 26, who will be an unrestricted free agent next summer, plus defenseman Shea Weber, 26, who will be an unrestricted free agent in 2013. Nashville is known as a defensive team, and the franchise's identity seems to center on Rinne, Suter and Weber.

"I know we are doing our best to get them signed here," Rinne said. "But this is my decision. I was the first of the three to sign, and hopefully those wholesale nfl jerseystwo guys will be next."

The Predators are among the NHL's lowest-spending teams, ranking 28th out of 30 teams, according to Predators chairman Tom Ciggaran also made it clear that the team has "every intent" of signing Suter and Weber.

"The Hockey News had a cover article called 'Slashville', talking about how we couldn't afford to sign these three players," Ciggaran said. "And I'm looking forward to writing a little letter to them and pointing out that we did. The money is there to sign these guys."

Poile said he is anticipating that Suter's agent, Neil ShCheap NFL Jerseyseehy, will be in Nashville in a couple of weeks to continue discussions. Sheehy and Poile have had two other meetings this season. "I think we have to treat (the three players) all individually and don't think anybody will be exactly the same as to amounts or years," Poile said.

Rinne's $7 million salary cap hit, which will start next season, is now the largest cap hit for an NHL goalkeeper. He was runner-up last season for the Vezina Trophy and finished fourth in MVP balloting.

Since the salary cap was introduced six years ago, there has been debate around the NHL about how to allocate a team's funds. Some teams are spending more on defense, and cutting back on goaltending spending. Poile said he has always believed that strong goaltending is vital to a successful team.

"It's analogous to pitching in baseball," Poile said. "I can't see having average goaltending and being successful in the National Hockey League.
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