As the off season for the Nashville Predators begins so continues speculation about free agency. General Manager David Poile says signing restricted free agent Shea Weber to a new deal is the Predators top priority.
While the Predators and Weber’s agent have met a couple of times during the season, negotiations were put off until Nashville’s season was over.
“They definitely want to wrap it up before July 1,” Poile said about the possibility of having Weber signed to a deal before the July 1st deadline.
If the Predators sign Weber to a new deal or if salary arbitration is sought before July 1st, other teams will not be able to sign the All-Star defenseman to an offer sheet. If the deadline passes and an offer sheet is signed, the Predators can still match it.
On a day that sees the Nashville Predators play their most important game in franchise history, Pekka Rinne, has been nominated for the Vezina Trophy, the award given to the goaltender judged to be the best in the National Hockey League.
- Rinne has been nominated for the Vezina Award
Rinne’s regular season statistics were undeniable. Having played in 64 games, the Finnish netminder ended the season with a 2.12 GAA, good for third in the League behind the other two Vezina nominees, Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins and Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks. His .930 save percentage was second in the League to Thomas.
Thomas is the favorite to win the Award. A Vezina winner in 2009, Thomas lost his starting position last season to Tuukka Rask but regained it this year on his way to leading the League in both goals against and save percentage.
Luongo also put up good numbers, leading his team to the President’s Trophy. His 2.11 GAA that was second only to Thomas and he finished fourth in the League with a .928 save percentage.
The Nashville Predators received their first, in what may be several, 2011 Award nominations Wednesday morning.
This year’s nominees for General Manager of the Year include Vancouver’s Mike Gillis, Tampa Bay’s Steve Yzerman and Nashville’s David Poile.
It is only the second year for the award, and second nomination for Poile.
This year, the Award is going to be presented at the Awards show in Las Vegas. Last year, the winner was announced on tv during a game broadcast. Don Maloney of the Phoenix Coyotes won.
The League’s 30 General Managers as well as a panel of NHL executives and print and broadcast media voted on the Award.
Just four days before the puck dropped on the Nashville Predators 2010-2011 season, first round draft pick Ryan Parent and Jonas Andersson were traded to the Vancouver Canucks for Shane O’Brien and minor league player, Dan Gendur.
Nashville fans are used to General Manager David Poile signing players and making trades at the end of the off season. Take last year for example. On August 20th, 2009, Marcel Goc signed a one-year deal with the Predators after spending four seasons with the San Jose Sharks. Francis Bouillon came to training camp on a professional tryout after Montreal chose not to offer the 5’8 defenseman a contract. Bouillon didn’t sign his one-year deal with Nashville until September 30th, just days before the start of the regular season.