Highlights from Today’s Presser

Nashville Predators general manager David Poile answers questions at a news conference Monday, April 14, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. The Predators announced earlier in the day that head coach Barry Trotz's contract won't be extended and they will begin looking for a new head coach. Trotz is the only head coach the NHL hockey team has had. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Source: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Predators General Manager David Poile met with the media today regarding free agency, the recent draft, and… you know, little stuff here and there. I’ve compiled some of the thousand tweets from media and condensed them for your reading pleasure:

In case you missed it, the NHL passed the new 3-on-3 overtime. As Poile mentioned, there’s a good chance we’ll see less shootouts now.

If you needed official word on Clune and Stalberg’s departure, here it is straight from the horse’s mouth. Stalberg’s buyout will cost the Predators $4.67M over the next four years. Yay.

As you recall (or if you missed it), Austin Watson was just signed to a two-year deal yesterday. It’s been a long time coming for the 2010 draft pick and it will be interesting where he’ll mesh in as far as the lineup goes.

Again, straight from the horse’s mouth himself. Take a deep breath and remember: patience is a virtue.

Yes, the Predators and David Poile have extended an offer to Mike Ribeiro. Please also remember the whole “innocent until proven guilty” motto. You know, the law.

Not much to commentate on as this information was made known much earlier.

We should all expect to hear whether or not Ribeiro accepts the Predators’ offer by this evening or early tomorrow morning.

Okay, here’s the statement everyone should read and set down their pitchforks. The NHL is involved, along with law enforcement. Poile would not have moved forward with offering Mike Ribeiro a new deal if he felt like this was going to continue imploding. This isn’t Poile’s first rodeo as GM, my friends.

Be ready for an explosion on Twitter and the Predators’ Facebook account.

No surprise that Volchenkov will be left to wander to greener pastures.

Another no surprise, Poile mentioned that the organization is actively seeking a trade involving goaltender Magnus Hellberg. Hellberg is definitely ready to move up to the NHL (or somewhere he’ll get the chance) and Nashville is overrun with netminder potential at this point. You know, especially after signing Saros the other day.

Honestly, I forgot he was injured. Good news – he’s doing well.

And, last but not least, Adam Vingan has this statement regarding the Ribeiro civil lawsuit. Maybe it will help lower the amount of torches and pitchforks a little, yes?

So, there you have it. Trust me, this is a condensed list of tweets from today’s presser. Free Agency starts tomorrow, July 1st. It should prove for an interesting day. I hope.

 

 

Qualifying Offers extended to 8 RFAs

PicMonkey Collage

Fear not, Preds fans! The Predators extended qualifying offers to eight Restricted Free Agents all before the 4PM deadline this afternoon. Those eight players? Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, Gabriel Bourque, Anthony Bitetto, Calle Jarnkrok, Taylor Beck, Taylor Aronson, and Magnus Hellberg.

In a nutshell, by extending these qualifying offers, the Predators are still given the opportunity to continue negotiations with these particular players. This doesn’t stop these players from signing other contracts, but it does give Nashville the right to match or exceed these potential competitive offers. If the Predators do not choose to match or exceed an offer, they will be compensated for the player’s departure from the organization. If the Predators had not given these RFAs qualifying offers, these players would’ve become Unrestricted Free Agents on Wednesday, July 1st.

So, who didn’t receive qualifying offers? Well, that would be Zach Budish and Josh Shalla; two players that will hit the UFA market come July 1st.

Preds sign Watson to Two-Year Contract

Source: Frederick Breedon

Source: Frederick Breedon

Welp, free agency has begun and I may be a little busy with these posts for a while (hopefully). First to be signed is forward, Austin Watson, Nashville’s first round draft pick back in 2010. Here’s a little info from the official press release:

Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Monday that the club has signed forward Austin Watson to a two-year contract. The deal is a two-way contract in 2015-16 paying him $575,000 at the NHL level and $100,000 at the AHL level, and a one-way, $575,000 contract in 2016-17.

Buyout Updates:

  • Sorry, Clune fans – it’s official (as of yesterday): Rich Clune’s contract will be bought out by the Predators. Clune tweeted this heartfelt thanks last night:

  • Also on the chopping block is Viktor Stalberg, who was just added to the unconditional waivers list along with Cody Hodgson of the Buffalo Sabres. If he clears, the Predators will also buyout his contract.

Preds ink deal with Fisher

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Source: Frederick Breedon

Speculation has been running wild about when (not if) the Predators and Mike Fisher would come to an agreement on a new deal. And boy, did Fish get a raise! This morning, news was announced that the 35-year-old forward inked a two-year, $8.8M contract to remain in Nashville. Fisher will receive $4.8M of that deal in this upcoming 2016-15 season then the remaining $4M in the 2016-17 season.

So, breathe a sigh of relief, all you Fisher fans. He’s back.

2015-16 Nashville Predators Regular Season Schedule

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As promised, the NHL released the 2015-16 regular season schedule for all teams this morning. Feast your eyes on the schedule below:

OCTOBER –

  • Thursday, October 8th – Hurricanes, 7PM
  • Saturday, October 10th – Oilers, 6PM
  • Tuesday, October 13th @ Devils, 6PM
  • Thursday, October 15th @ Islanders, 6PM
  • Saturday, October 17th @ Senators, 6PM
  • Tuesday, October 20th – Lightning, 7PM
  • Thursday, October 22nd – Ducks, 7PM
  • Saturday, October 24th – Penguins, 7PM
  • Wednesday, October 28th @ Sharks, 9:30PM
  • Saturday, October 31st @ Kings, 3PM

NOVEMBER –

  • Sunday, November 1st @ Ducks, 7PM
  • Thursday, November 5th @ Wild, 7PM
  • Saturday, November 7th – Blues, 7PM
  • Tuesday, November 10th – Senators, 7PM
  • Thursday, November 12th – Maple Leafs, 7PM
  • Saturday, November 14th – Jets, 6PM
  • Tuesday, November 17th – Ducks, 7PM
  • Friday, November 20th @ Blue Jackets, 6PM
  • Saturday, November 21st @ Wild, 7PM
  • Monday, November 23rd @ Rangers, 6PM
  • Wednesday, November 25th @ Sabres, 6PM
  • Friday, November 27th @ Flyers, 2PM
  • Saturday, November 28th – Sabres, 7PM

DECEMBER –

  • Tuesday, December 1st – Coyotes, 7PM
  • Thursday, December 3rd – Panthers, 7PM
  • Saturday, December 5th @ Red Wings, 6PM
  • Monday, December 7th @ Bruins, 6PM
  • Tuesday, December 8th @ Blackhawks, 7:30PM
  • Thursday, December 10th – Blackhawks, 7PM
  • Saturday, December 12th – Avalanche, 7PM
  • Tuesday, December 15th – Flames, 7PM
  • Thursday, December 17th @ Blues, 7PM
  • Saturday, December 19th – Wild, 7PM
  • Monday, December 21st – Canadiens, 7PM
  • Saturday, December 26th – Red Wings, 7PM
  • Monday, December 28th – Rangers, 7PM
  • Tuesday, December 29th @ Blues, 7PM
  • Thursday, December 31st @ Stars, 7:30PM

JANUARY –

  • Saturday, January 2nd @ Hurricanes, 6PM
  • Tuesday, January 5th – Jets, 7PM
  • Friday, January 8th @ Avalanche, 8PM
  • Saturday, January 9th @ Coyotes, 8PM
  • Tuesday, January 12th @ Blackhawks, 7:30PM
  • Thursday, January 14th @ Jets, 7PM
  • Saturday, January 16th – Wild, 7PM
  • Tuesday, January 19th – Blackhawks, 7PM
  • Thursday, January 21st @ Jets, 7PM
  • Saturday, January 23rd @ Oilers, 9PM
  • Tuesday, January 26th @ Canucks, 9PM
  • Wednesday, January 27th @ Flames, 8:30PM

FEBRUARY –

  • Tuesday, February 2nd – Blues, 7PM
  • Thursday, February 4th – Flyers, 7PM
  • Saturday, February 6th – Sharks, 7PM
  • Tuesday, February 9th – Capitals, 7PM
  • Friday, February 12th @ Lightning, 6:30PM
  • Saturday, February 13th @ Panthers, 6PM
  • Monday, February 15th – Stars, 7PM
  • Thursday, February 18th – Bruins, 7PM
  • Saturday, February 20th – Kings, 7PM
  • Monday, February 22nd @ Canadiens, 6:30PM
  • Tuesday, February 23rd @ Maple Leafs, 6:30PM
  • Thursday, February 25th @ Blackhawks, 7:30PM
  • Saturday, February 27th – Blues, 7PM

MARCH –

  • Tuesday, March 1st – Stars, 7PM
  • Thursday, March 3rd – Devils, 7PM
  • Saturday, March 5th @ Avalanche, 2PM
  • Tuesday, March 8th @ Jets, 7PM
  • Wednesday, March 9th @ Flames, 8:30PM
  • Saturday, March 12th @ Canucks, 9PM
  • Monday, March 14th @ Oilers, 8PM
  • Thursday, March 17th – Islanders, 7PM
  • Friday, March 18th @ Capitals, 6PM
  • Monday, March 21st – Kings, 7PM
  • Thursday, March 24th – Canucks, 7PM
  • Saturday, March 26th – Blue Jackets, 7PM
  • Monday, March 28th – Avalanche, 7PM
  • Tuesday, March 29th @ Stars, 7:30PM
  • Thursday, March 31st @ Penguins, 6PM

APRIL –

  • Saturday, April 2nd – Sharks, 7PM
  • Tuesday, April 5th – Avalanche, 7PM
  • Thursday, April 7th – Coyotes, 7PM
  • Saturday, April 9th @ Stars, 7PM

Predators announce 2015-16 Home Opener

Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Though the full 2015-16 schedule will be announced tomorrow, the Predators gave us a little sample of what’s to come this upcoming season with the release of the home opener. Scheduled for October 8th, the Predators will welcome in the Carolina Hurricanes. Check back with us tomorrow when the full schedule is release and, until then, go Preds!

Preds announce 2015 Pre-Season Schedule

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Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Early this afternoon, the Predators released the upcoming pre-season schedule for the 2015-16 season – woot! For those of you who are impatient, the regular season schedule should be released this Thursday.

  • Sunday, September 20th – Florida Panthers @ 3:30PM
  • Sunday, September 20th – Florida Panthers @ 7:00PM
  • Tuesday, September 22nd @ Tampa Bay Lightning – 6:30PM
  • Wednesday, September 23rd – Tampa Bay Lightning @ 7:00PM
  • Tuesday, September 29th – Columbus Blue Jackets @ 7:00PM
  • Saturday, October 3rd @ Columbus Blue Jackets – 6:00PM

There you go, folks – mark your calendars and get ready for some pre-season action! Also, new this year, the Predators have partnered with Kroger to incentivize you to come to the pre-season games in the form of free tickets. Yes, free pre-season tickets! Starting in mid-August, fans can pick up a voucher at all participating Middle Tennessee Kroger locations while supplies last, up to four tickets! So now you really have no excuse for not putting butts in the seats.

Mike Ribeiro Assault Case Update

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Source: Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports

By now, everyone is pretty familiar of the baggage Mike Ribeiro packed with him when he was signed by the Nashville Predators in the off-season last year. Personal issues off-ice finally began to affect his on-ice performance, eventually cutting ties with the Arizona Coyotes. Yes, the signing of Mike Ribeiro was definitely a bold move by David Poile, but that risk turned quickly to reward, with Ribeiro ending the 2014-15 season 15-47-62. He also played in all 82 games.

Ribeiro left the Coyotes in search of a new start with a new organization willing to give him a chance. Nashville was that answer, and – as far as we know and from what we saw on ice – his off-ice issues all but were left in the desert. Unfortunately, the past has continued to creep up behind Ribeiro everywhere he goes and the Music City was no exception.

In March, TMZ reported that a former nanny of the Ribeiros was suing Mike for sexual assault and his wife, Tamara, for verbal abuse. The Predators were quick to make a very basic statement, which was about all they could honestly do at the time with such little information of the accusation:

“We have been made aware of a complaint against Mike Ribeiro, dating back to his playing time while he was in Dallas,” the Predators said in a statement. “Mike has indicated that the charge is without merit and is prepared to vigorously defend himself. We will allow the legal process to move forward without further comment.”

After a week or two, the hype over this accusation died down and, to be honest, most of us completely forgot about it altogether. On The Forecheck, however, did not forget about it and made the initial update earlier this afternoon.

Because OTF has all the latest on this subject, I will direct you to their site for the full story. Be warned, however, some of the details are very graphic and may be disturbing to many readers.

Now that you are back (hopefully) from reading that, yeah… yikes, y’all. Of course, along with this new update and information, a lot of people are questioning that initial statement from the Predators organization and just how much they did know about this incident before signing in back in the off-season. Of course, you have to also account for the following facts:

  • The victim had not come forward before David Poile and the organization signed Ribeiro.
  • Mike and his wife may not have gone into detail as to what exactly those “off-ice personal issues” were.
  • David Poile is not a newbie at this; there is no doubt he did his due-diligence before signing Ribeiro.

Seriously, I stand firm in saying that the Predators and David Poile did not know of the details of the accusations until the victim took action. Here’s an article excerpt from Dan Rosen regarding Poile’s due diligence back when Ribeiro was first signed:

Poile said the Predators did their due diligence on Ribeiro. He said they talked to former teammates, coaches, general managers and more people inside and outside Ribeiro’s circle, including Predators forward James Neal, who played with Ribeiro in Dallas from 2008-11.

“It’s well known that Ribeiro had some off-ice situations that he had to take care of. He has done that,” Poile said. “He and his family were separated and now they’re back together. He and his wife [Tammy] and three kids [Mikael, Noah and Viktoria] are trying to make a new life, want to make a new life for themselves here in Nashville.”

Poile wouldn’t divulge any details as to what Ribeiro has done to address the issues he was dealing with off the ice, saying it was personal information. He did say any further off-ice issues would not be tolerated.

“We can’t have a distraction on our team. We can’t have something that’s affecting our franchise,” Poile said. “Mike and his wife realize that. There is no tolerance for off-ice issues. This clearly is really his last chance.

I mean, has everyone really forgotten that whole curfew-gate from the 2012 Playoffs when Andre Kostitsyn and Alexander Radulov frolicked around Scottsdale and were suspended by Poile – no the league – for Game 3 for their violation. And, as we all know the outcome now, Radulov and A. Kostitsyn were not re-signed the next season. Needless to say, David Poile does not take off-ice shenanigans lightly and, as I stated, you know he did his digging before finally okaying the Ribeiro contract.

As mentioned by On The Forecheck, the next hearing is set with a July 27th deadline. It will be interesting, since Ribeiro will be seeking a contract extension this year, as he was only signed to a one-year deal last July. Unfortunately, due to his past coming back to haunt him (whether guilty or not), his future in Nashville may be on the chopping block, despite having one of the best seasons of his career.

Predators Sign Juuse Saros

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Image source: Google images

Moments ago, the Nashville Predators announced that they have signed 2013 draftee, Juuse Saros to a three-year, entry-level contract. Due to this deal, he is expected to begin his North American career during the 2015-16 season. Here is word from the official Predators press release about the Finnish goaltender:

Saros, 20 (4/19/95), appeared in 47 of HPK’s 60 Finnish Elite League (SM-Liiga) contests in 2014-15, ranking among the league’s Top Five in shutouts (6), minutes played (2773:53), save percentage (.929) and goals-against average (2.14) in his second full season in the league. He was named 2013-14 Finnish Elite League Rookie of the Year after ranking second among the Top Three in goals-against average (1.76), and save percentage (.928) becoming just the fourth goalie to win the award in its 40-year history. During his final Finnish junior league season in 2012-13, the Forssa, Finland, native was named best player and recipient of the Jorma Valtonen Award as the league’s top goaltender after leading all netminders in goals-against average (1.86) and save percentage (.933).

The 5-11, 176-pounder represented Finland at both the World Championship and the World Junior Championship for the second consecutive year in 2015, backing up Predators netminder Pekka Rinne at the 2015 World Championship and stopping all 22 shots he faced in his lone appearance of the tournament against Slovakia to record Finland’s third of four consecutive shutouts. At the 2014 World Junior Championship, he led Finland to its first Gold Medal at the tournament since 1987, receiving Media All-Star Team honors after leading all goaltenders in save percentage (.943) and goals-against average (1.57) in six games. He was also named Best Goalkeeper of the 2013 Under-18 World Championship and one of Finland’s three best players of the tournament in helping them claim the bronze medal.

With Saros’ signing, that ultimately means someone has to go. You have Rinne and Hutton on the NHL level, and Marek Mazanec and Magnus Hellberg in waiting with Milwaukee. Well, it has already been stated that Carter Hutton isn’t going anywhere (definitely not Rinne, either), and Mazanec has been goalie-in-waiting. Though Hellberg is good to have in the system, it’s time for this kiddo so spread his wings and get some ice time elsewhere.