Thursday afternoon notes: Pekka's payday

"Your move, guys"

With today's announcement of a 7-year, $49 million contract for Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne, general manager David Poile has accomplished one-third of his goal to lock up Rinne along with Ryan Suter and Shea Weber. But does the size of this deal impact his ability to get those defensemen signed, or address other needs of the team?

My concern is that league-wide goaltending has improved steadily in recent years, and unless Pekka continues to deliver performances like last year's over and over again, this contract will represent a significant overpay when compared to what they could otherwise achieve either through their development system or via free agency. For a budget-constrained team like Nashville, that's an especially large issue.

For a bit of perspective, if you believe that Pekka has an enduring talent to stop shots that's about 1% better than league-average (say, a sustainable .925 save percentage guy as opposed a .915), that saves you about 20 goals against over the course of a season, which is worth about 7 points in the standings. For a single individual, that's worth paying a premium for, but again, the question is whether he can consistently deliver those results over the term of the contract.

Especially for a team which has gotten strong goaltending results from a number of players over the last several years, it's a bold move to put this much money, for this long, into a goaltender, any goaltender. Just as teams get extra value out of young players on their early, cheaper contracts, however, when a guy is up for UFA status, you usually have to overpay to get your man.

Our afternoon notes will touch many aspects of this deal, before branching out to the rest of the league...

Free Shipping available at Shop.NHL.com during early November | Hockey Gear HQ
A rare offer at the NHL's official online retail outlet helps you save with free shipping, but only for a limited time. Hmm... maybe a #35 jersey is in order?

Nashville Predators News

Smashville 24/7: Conversation with Rinne's agent, Jay Grossman
Pekka's new deal sets a standard which few, if any goaltenders will match in the near future, but attaining that status wasn't a specific goal, according to his agent.

Preds On The Glass: Audio from Pekka Rinne's Press Conference with David Poile and Tom Ciggaran
If you're looking for the audio from today's media call, here you go...

The 303:30 – Pekka Rinne signs 7-yr extension, David Poile conference call | Section 303
Jeremy has the call as well, and brings in Amanda of Inside Smashville and Ryan of Smashville 24/7 for their take.

The View from 111: Predators Sign Pekka Rinne for 7 Years, $49 Million
Mark sees today's contract as a declaration to Suter & Weber, and the rest of the NHL, that the Predators are committed to winning the Cup.

Smashville 24/7: Know the Enemy: Geoffrion previews Phoenix
Ryan got Boomer's thoughts heading into tonight's game.

Nashville Makes the Right Call in Giving Pekka Rinne a 7 Year Extension - Backhand Shelf
One independent observer gives a big thumbs-up to the deal.

Nashville Predators sign goaltender Pekka Rinne to new contract - The Tennessean
Josh gets wide-ranging reaction to the deal, including input from Ryan Suter & Shea Weber.

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

Coyotes Ups and Downs: Looking Back at the 10 Game Mark - Five For Howling
Looking at trends for the Phoenix Coyotes through the first ten games of the season.

Gordon: Can Blues restore order amid conference chaos? - STLToday.com
The Blue notes have been flat so far...

NHL Settles International Television Agreements " Puck The Media
More good news on the NHL's business front, as they get their European TV distribution sorted out.

Hurricanes Announce 10 Minority Investors, Nine Are North Carolina-Based - Canes Country
Kudos to Karmanos for getting this done.

Sports technology: Vital statistics | The Economist
Do players keep cool under pressure? With technological advances in biometrics, sports teams can follow such information in real time.

Tattoos and Piercings Offered at Islanders Games - NYTimes.com
Definitely one of the most unusual things I've ever seen promoted at a hockey game...

Tobias Enstrom Out for a Month With a Broken Collarbone - Arctic Ice Hockey
This is a nasty blow to an already-bad team.

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