While driving to work the other day I was pondering the Nashville Predators's goaltending situation, and how they're set up pretty darned well for the short term. Pekka Rinne has proven to be a top-caliber starter, Anders Lindback showed that he has the talent and poise to compete here in North America and Mark Dekanich has pretty much proven all he can at the AHL level. I've previously said in this space that perhaps David Poile's best move forward might be to move Dekanich (who will be a restricted free agent this summer) to a goalie-starved team in order to move up in this summer's NHL Entry Draft, but perhaps there's room to retain all three of these guys and provide further development room, after all?
Consider this: Dekanich is 25, and enjoyed a great year in Milwaukee as their #1 guy. Perhaps the next sensible step for him is to serve as Pekka Rinne's back next season, now that he's shown to be a capable pro who's always prepared for the job at hand. With Lindback, the proper move may well be to let him carry the starter's load with the Admirals, so the Preds can see how durable he is. It can't serve Anders' development path well to play just 20-25 games a season right now, and as they look to the future, the Predators need to understand just how well he can maintain focus and composure over the long haul.
Just something to ponder while reading your morning news & notes...
Bauer hockey gear dominates the Stanley Cup Final | Hockey Gear HQ
The Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins are loaded up with Bauer's hockey equipment, and this weekend, there's a special offer available which can allow you to save money while getting some, too.
Nashville Predators News
One more Wild coaching candidate unearthed: Peter Horachek | StarTribune.com
The Preds' assistant is making the rounds, having interviewed in Dallas earlier this week.
Top 15 moments of the 2010-11 Preds season: #5 | Section 303
Jeremy breaks into his final five...
Preds On The Glass: Here is a Unique Realignment Idea From The Chicago Tribune
Back to the Future! I love this...
Paul McCann - Random Notes
Paul's all over the hot stories of the day, from Vancouver to Winnipeg and all across the US.
Music City Mindset: The Roller Coaster Season Part Vi: The Final Ride
Ryan's season reviews makes it to the playoffs...
Nashville Predators Blogger Wanted " Predlines
With Amanda setting up shop at InsideSmashville.com, they're looking for someone to backfill her spot at Predlines...
The July 1st Deadline: Why it means more than we think it does | The Predatorial
I think we all know what July 1 means, and David Poile has a busy few weeks ahead of him.
NHL Entry Draft
HW 2011 Prospects: Zack Phillips - Hockey Wilderness
This center from Saint John could go in the top 10. SB Nation's Minnesota Wild blog is loaded with draft articles, considering it's taking place right in their back yard.
Teams analyze Combine results by varying criteria - NHL.com
As the draft approaches, it's time to put the kids through their paces both physically and mentally.
NHL prospects show off their body work - The Globe and Mail
James Mirtle also files a report from the NHL Scouting Combine.
Around the NHL
Burrows knows he has to be smarter - The Globe and Mail
Yes, he needs to make sure he has a snack before the game so he's not hungry.
The Stanley Cup Finals - Behind The Scenes - Nucks Misconduct
A look at covering the Final with media access. Back in 1998, I got to do this in Detroit for Games 1 & 2 of the Finals against Washington. The day before Game 1, I went downtown to pick up my media kit, which included this rather drab brown shirt with a little Stanley Cup logo. I figured "gosh, this looks cool", so I wore it the next night to cover the game. It turned out that I was the only media member in the entire freaking building wearing that thing, so I might as well have worn a blinking sign saying "NOOB" on top of my head. Yeesh...
Vancouver's Green Men Are Heading To Boston - SBNation.com
The Canuck superfans landed a sponsor to help them cheer on their guys in Game 3 & 4. I'm wonder who'd sponsor @bigbenpreds on such a trip if the Predators made it this far. Cracker Barrel? A paint store?
Labatt's scores victory in NHL sponsorship dispute - The Globe and Mail
This could get ugly... Canada's two biggest beer rivals are battling over the right to be the NHL's official sponsor. The league struck a $375 million deal with Molson Coors a few months ago, but Labatt argued in court that they already had such an agreement in place.
The Dark Blue Jacket: Could we really pay too much for Brad Richards? Ver 2.1
They've been coveting a top-line center for ages in Columbus, but I don't see a pricey free agent as the urgent need there.
Flyers Set Eriksson Free - The Goalie Guild
Given their long-standing issues in goal, it's a bit surprising to see Philadelphia let their draft rights to a Swedish goaltending prospect expire on June 1. But it's pointed out that they already have the rights to 8 goaltenders in their system, so it could just be a numbers issue.
Looking Into the Lightning’s Crystal Ball - Hockey Independent
As good as the Lightning were this year, Steve Yzerman has some room to maneuver and make next year's squad even stronger.
Sabres Sign Drew Stafford - Die By The Blade
4 years, $16 million for the big winger.
Lastly, check out this video (found at Stanley Cup of Chowder) depicting the Stanley Cup Final from a Taiwanese perspective: