The Predators just announced that Martin Erat has signed a 7-year deal worth $31.5 mil. This would keep him here into the 2014-2015 season, one year longer than Legwand's deal. Tying up a young core like this is great. Both deals feel a little on the steep side right now, but given the growth, potential, and - more importantly - the rapidly rising salaries around the league, these deals are both going to feel like steals in a few years. Erat will be 33 at the end of the deal, which sounds pretty perfect to me.
Also, if my math is right (and the numbers on NHLnumbers.com are correct), this means that the Predators salary for next year is at approximately $40.4 mil - right at the salary floor for next season. Of course we are still well below the $56mil salary cap, which i don't think we'll be too near, despite David Freeman's promises of spending to win. We still have to sign Ryan Suter and Shea Weber, and hopefully go after a forward or two to replace Gelinas and Hordichuck (who i assume won't be re-signed). I'm thinking/hoping that Hlavich and Peverly are possibilities, but of course i also have a wish-list of stars that would be great to add. And of course we still have to work out the goalie issue with Mason and Rinne both on contract, but Ellis hanging around as the incumbent starting goalie.
I'm really looking forward to what Poile does the rest of the summer, and i'm glad we're getting these guys' contracts out of the way quickly (Erat is still at the World Championships for goodness sake).
Next year should be a good one. Grab your tickets now :-)
UPDATE: Erat's initial contract has been rejected by the NHL. Apparently the actual contract was loaded too heavily in some years and too lightly in others. My understanding is that for salary cap purposes, the total deal value is divided by the number of years to just give an average to be used for cap calculations - so i'm not sure why they made the contract this wonky. According to TSN, the original contract was arranged something like this:
08-09 - 3.50 NHLOf course the eventual deal will be re-jigged and approved i'm sure. Strange that 1) it was this unbalanced to start with 2) the Predators weren't careful enough to know the NHL rules about salaries.
09-10 - 5.25 NHL
10-11 - 5.25 NHL
11-12 - 6.00 NHL
12-13 - 5.50 NHL
13-14 - 3.50 NHL
14-15 - 2.50 NHL
The other very interesting fact that came out is that apparently Erat has a "No Move Clause" go into effect in July 2009. That means that Erat cannot be traded, waived for a claim by another team, or assigned to the minors without his consent - even more strict than just a No Trade Clause. Wow. That i know of, the only other such clause Nashville has ever handed out was a NTC on Zidlicky's much shorter contract. Very interesting indeed.