How much should the Nashville Predators pay Patric Hornqvist?

Sure, the playoffs are right around the corner, and the Predators are on fire, but its time to shift our attentions momentarily to another issue- the re-signing of the team's leading goal-scorer, Patric Hornqvist. Hornqvist will be a restricted free agent at the end of the year, which means if he signs with another team the Predators will be reimbursed to a certain extent via draft picks.

Follow after the jump for a look at his performance and how it compares to some other NHL snipers...

For discussion's sake, here are his numbers:

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT

2009 - Patric Hornqvist ($713,000, 23yo)

72 28 17 45 14 32 10 0 8 0 242 11.6

There's little doubt that "Horn Dog" has been at the very least the team's offensive MVP this season. He has a chance to break Jason Arnott's Nashville goal scoring record, needing six goals in ten games to do so. There's little doubt, too, that he needs to be locked up long-term. The Predators don't have an abundance of scoring, so when you find a diamond in the rough like Hornqvist its important to keep him around. His game is not as well-known as Martin Erat's, so don't expect a contract over 4 million per year, and he's only had this sort of success in the short term. With that in mind, here are some players with similar numbers and their respective cap hits (starting, obviously, on the higher end of things):

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT

2009 - Loui Eriksson ($4,266,000, 24yo)

2009 - Ryan Malone ($4,500,000, 30yo) 

2009 - Brooks Laich ($2,066,066, 26yo)

2009 - Radim Vrbata ($3,000,000, 28yo)

72

65

72

73

26

21

24

23

37

23

32

19

63

44

56

42

-7

-9

+13

+11

22

59

32

24

6

7

11

6

2

0

1

0

2

7

3

4

0

0

0

0

192

169

210

245

13.5

12.4

11.4

9.4

Obviously, what stands out here is the efficiency of Eriksson, then the overpayment of Malone. Brooks Laich, on the other hand, is incredibly productive for his salary. There were other players to choose from, but I felt that these gave us both ends of the spectrum and a good idea for what to expect. 

If I were general manager David Poile, I would offer Patric Hornqvist a three year deal worth a little over two million per year. What this does is rewards Patric for an excellent season while putting faith in him for the future without overpaying and hamstringing your budget as Tampa Bay did with Malone. I now turn the floor over to the reader-what would you pay Patric Hornqvist?

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