Welcome to our first installment of the Weekly Q&A: Up for today: Goalies "randomly" slapping the ice with their sticks and gazing into the crystal ball that is this off season.
In last week's Q&A, we asked the question posed by some new hockey fans: why is the goalie slapping his stick on the ice? The friend proved the old addage: "You don't need to be right, you just need to sound confident." The friend's answer was basically "cheerleading." Can you do any better? Select from the three options below.
If you picked option C, to let the team know and be aware that the powerplay is over, you'd be correct. Want to see what happens when this message isn't covneyed/respected? Check out this amazing goal.
Want to see what a goalie pumping up his team looks like? Look at this rediculously long (and amazing) shootout between Chicago and Columbus from a few weeks ago. I won't spoil the winner.
Question of the Week: Are We Screwed this Off Season?
My favorite question submitted this week was by anonymous, who wanted to why such a high percentage of the predators were going to be free agents during the off season, and if that was bad business. Great question ! My conclusion: The Preds Are Doing Just Fine.
In order to see how the Predators stack up in terms off off season free agents, I went to www.nhlscap.com, which is a great website cap-tracker in association with hockeybuzz.com. From there, I decided to compare the Predators to the other teams in our division. Using this years salary numbers, I put together this table of where we stand in the division.
The "Players vs. Expiring Contracts" column simply looks at the number of players who will be either restricted or unrestricted free agents (UFAs & RFAs) at the end of this season, and divides that number by the number of players on the roster. The "Value of Expiring Contracts" tables on the right simply divide the value of the contracts of UFA & RFAs by the total roster cost of the team. One caveat, these numbers are before Chicago's resigning of Kane/Toews/Keith. How they plan on keeping that team under the cap, I have no idea.
The Preds are in the middle of the pack in terms of almost every statistic. So it seems that ratios of contracts expiring in a given year are pretty high. Why is that? Because most contracts are for 1, 2 or maybe 3 years. Very rarely do you see long term contracts, and those are often for the hard to replace players.
Warning: Let the rampant uninformed speculation begin!
Who's Going to be a Free Agent?
Here is a list of Predators who are unrestricted free agents (UFAs) and their current cap hits:
Hamhuis and Rinne will likely get a big or substantial raise. Tootoo and Bullion will get some more money as well, but probably not a huge bump. As for the rest of this list, they may get traded before the year is out (Ellis), or will likely only have a home with the Preds if there is room in the budget. I think we can resign the people from this list we want, without much problem.
Here are the current restricted free agents (RFAs) and their current cap hits:
Klein, Hornquist, Goc, Santorelli, and Franson will all command some fairly large pay raises. The rest will likely resign (if at all) at the same or slightly higher rates.
Whether the predators are able to resign everyone they want is unclear (and I am certianly not wise enough to predict that at this point in the season). But the Preds are very fortunate that most of the players they want resigned are RFAs. It will help at the trade deadline, and it will help lessen the blow if we are forced to lose people.
Also, don't forget that the predators have lots of other players in the system in college and other leagues besides the AHL. Losing a few people every year is natural, and helps create room for your new young players.
Overall, I am optimiatic about the core of this team, and the young players coming up through the ranks. From where I am sitting, it looks like Poile has positioned our team very
Thanks and Twitter
Listen up, because this is important. Allow me to take a moment to thank PredNation generally, and both Dirk Hoag (www.ontheforecheck.com) and Buddy Oates (www.predsontheglass.com) for the amazing support during this first week of the blog. The response has been overwhelming. If you have not checked out their blogs, radio shows, etc. you need to do that. To everyone, thanks for reading, and keep the feedback coming.
I've also created a twitter account, so please follow me @preds101.