Is Pekka Rinne a $7 million-per-year goaltender?
Predators GM David Poile believes so. He gave his netminder a landmark deal, officially labeling him the cornerstone of the franchise. Nashville is a budget operation, so Rinne’s contract could lead to the exit of Ryan Suter and/or Shea Weber to free agency.
Then again, Rinne appears to be an elite goalie. Let’s see what the experts thought of the deal:
Jason Brough, NBCSports: “Pekka Rinne is a good goalie, but he’s not a seven-year, $49-million goalie. And if David Poile isn’t able to sign Ryan Suter and/or Shea Weber because he committed too much salary to Rinne, it will go down as a franchise-altering mistake. All you have to do is look back on past Predator netminders to see how much Barry Trotz’s system helps a goalie’s stats. Among the guys who’ve had good seasons playing for ultra-defensive Nashville are Dan Ellis, Chris Mason and Anders Lindback. Rinne’s better than all three of those goalies, but $7 million a year? Come on.”
Ryan Lambert, Yahoo! Sports: “It's not a good contract any way you slice it, and the underlying numbers for Rinne (particularly his impossible-to-repeat shorthanded save percentage) indicate that the all-world numbers he put up last season aren't likely to be replicated. It may be especially disastrous a few years down the line given Nashville's penchant for churning out good-to-great NHL goalies at an alarming rate.”
Sean Gentille, Sporting News: “Nashville, coming off the first playoff series win in franchise history, carries a 2011-12 payroll of less than $50 million—about $15 million under the NHL's salary cap—and is typically one of the league's lower-spending teams. With Rinne's salary added to their 2012-13 projections, the Predators have nearly $31 million devoted to 11 players.”
Ken Campbell, The Hockey News: “If you’re Paul Holmgren right now, would you rather have Rinne’s contract or be faced with the prospect of Ilya Bryzgalov’s $5.7 million cap hit for the next nine years? And judging by the way Roberto Luongo has played lately, if you’re Mike Gillis, would you rather have Rinne at seven-times-seven or Luongo for another 11 years with a cap hit of $5.3 million?”
Pierre LeBrun, ESPN.com: “It took about 35 seconds after Pekka Rinne's seven-year, $49 million contract extension was announced by the Nashville Predators for Montreal Canadiens fans to flood Twitter with Carey Price comparisons. And yes, there's no question that Price's leverage just went up even more, if it wasn't high enough to begin with. They are not exact comparisons: Rinne was unrestricted free agent-bound, while Price will be a restricted free agent July 1. UFA-bound players always have a bit more leverage. Still, they're both MVPs for their respective teams and top-five goalies in the world.”