The 49 Million Dollar Goalie.
Today was Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne’s birthday; also, it was the day he signed a contract worth $49 million over 7 years with the Nashville Predators.
While this is a large contract for a goalie, it was a necessary step for the team as they must establish their team as one that can spend money and is willing to lock up core players. Rinne has been the team MVP both this year and last season and is now certainly being paid like it.
Coming into this season there were a lot of questions as to which or any of the big three for Nashville would stay. Rinne answered the call and was locked up long term; while the contract isn’t cheap, it isn’t a gross overpayment. The contract works out to be 7 million per year for the next 7 years both in terms of cap hit and salary. That is important to a team like the Predators which don’t worry so much about the cap hit as they do the actual salary of a player.
The term of this contract is something that is right where it should be, Rinne just turned 29 years old today and is in his prime or just about to be. What people tend to forget is this is only Rinne’s fourth full season as a starter so there is a chance Rinne will only get better and improve on his stellar career. The money on the other hand is a separate issue, many fans around the NHL seem to agree that Poile overpaid to keep Rinne, and while I wouldn’t disagree there are many factors that go into this. With Weber, Suter and Rinne all being free agents of some sort this year, they command a lot of power over Poile, especially after the Weber situation over the offseason. With Weber coming out and openly stating he wants to see if this team will commit to winning, Poile had to make a move. With Rinne’s contract it definitely states that management is willing to spend more money in the coming years and really make a push for the cup. Rinne is arguably the best goaltender in the NHL, and his contract is comparable with another goalie that is in contention for that position and that is Lundqvist who has a 6.8 million dollar cap hit.
With Rinne now on the books for 7 more years, what happens with Suter and Weber many are wondering. Well, it wouldn’t be surprising to see both sign very similar contracts for similar lengths. Weber currently makes 7.5 million this season and could re-sign for that over 5-7 years. Suter on the other hand is a little more difficult, as while he is just as good as the other two, he is less notable. Suter could sign for a contract exactly the same as Rinne’s, being 7 million a year over however many years. While we all sit back and wonder only Poile knows the real answer to whether he can do what some deemed impossible and sign all three.
The final piece to all this is how does this contract effect teams looking to lock up other goalies long term. With Philly setting the bar over the off-season with Bryzgalov and now Rinne, some have to wonder what might happen with the likes of Price and others in a similar situation.