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The Nashville Predators should have some money to spend

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With the final pieces of the Nashville Predators 2010-11 roster secured with the recent signings of Patric Hornqvist and Cody Franson to new contracts, it's a good time to look at the current total salary of the team, and what that means for the upcoming campaign.

In a nutshell? Judging from recent history, David Poile would appear to have a little room left to do some shopping.

Follow after the jump for all the details, and what this means for the season ahead...

Per (along with references to CapGeek to fill a few gaps), and a likely Opening Night roster as listed below (look for the guys with a 2010-11 salary), the Preds could start the season with a payroll of roughly $46.5 million. Last year, before bonus payouts, I show Nashville as having spent $46.15 million. That figure comes by pro-rating the salary of each player based on the number of days they were on the roster during the 2009-10 season, which is what determines their pay. All salaries in the table below are in millions:

Player Position 2009-10 Salary Days on Roster Total 2009-2010 Salary 2010-2011 Salary
Martin Erat L 5.25 193 5.25 5.25
David Legwand C 5.00 193 5.00 4.50
Jason Arnott C 4.50 193 4.50
Matthew Lombardi C 3.50
J.P. Dumont R 4.00 193 4.00 4.00
Steve Sullivan R 3.75 193 3.75 3.75
Joel Ward R 1.50 193 1.50 1.50
Jordin Tootoo R 0.98 193 0.98 1.15
Colin Wilson C 0.88 99 0.45 0.88
Jerred Smithson C 0.73 193 0.73 0.75
Patric Hornqvist R 0.62 193 0.62 3.00
Wade Belak R 0.65 193 0.65 0.58
Ryan Jones R 0.98 115 0.58
Marcel Goc C 0.55 193 0.55 0.78
Cal O'Reilly C 0.55 107 0.30 0.58
Nick Spaling L 0.74 67 0.26
Jonas Andersson 0.68
Mike Santorelli C 0.62 62 0.20
Dave Scatchard C 0.55 57 0.16
Andreas Thuresson R 0.58 49 0.15
Dustin Boyd C 0.65 40 0.13
Ben Guite R 0.55 20 0.06
Triston Grant L 0.53 6 0.02
Peter Olvecky L 0.50 1 0.00
Shea Weber D 4.50 193 4.50 4.50
Ryan Suter D 3.50 193 3.50 3.50
Dan Hamhuis D 2.50 193 2.50
Francis Bouillon D 0.75 193 0.75 1.20
Denis Grebeshkov D 3.15 42 0.69
Kevin Klein D 0.80 193 0.80 1.35
Cody Franson D 0.53 172 0.47 0.80
Alexander Sulzer D 0.60 103 0.32 0.70
Teemu Laakso D 0.60 18 0.06
Ryan Parent D 0.85
Nolan Yonkman D 0.50 5 0.01
Dan Ellis G 2.00 193 2.00
Pekka Rinne G 0.73 193 0.73 2.80
Mark Dekanich G 0.55
Team Total 46.15 46.58
Salary Floor 40.8 43.4

Some of the lower-paid names in the organization (Sergei Kostitsyn, Aaron Johnson, etc.) can be substituted, but they wouldn't change this picture significantly.

What's important here is that the parameters involved with NHL revenue sharing typically dictate that the Predators operate on a player budget around $4-5 million above the salary floor in order to break even. Last season, for example, the floor was $40.8 million, and the team ended up $5.35 million above that. According to public statements from team chairman Tom Cigarran, they suffered a slight loss with that result (gotta find a citation for that, if you have one let me know).

Gotta a little change in my pocket...

Right now, with 23 contracts in place, the Preds are about $3.1 million above the salary floor, which would appear to leave $1-2 million in budget room available. Some of that will surely be held in reserve in case roster moves are required due to injury, or potentially acquire a difference-maker at the Trade Deadline (note in the table above that last season's major pickup, Denis Grebeshkov, cost the team just under $700,000 due to them carrying his $3.15 million salary for only a few weeks).

Another option might be to acquire an experienced backup goaltender. Jose Theodore is still on the market, but when I checked in with his agent (Don Meehan) last week, he indicated that there had been no discussions with David Poile about the former MVP coming to Nashville.

What would you do with $1-2 million burning in your pocket, and the charge of managing this team? Is there a free agent remaining on the open market who might represent an upgrade over talent on the existing roster? Perhaps you wait for a pending 2011 free agent who could be made available at the Trade Deadline as his team slips out of the playoff hunt, like Milan Hejduk or David Backes (costing only perhaps 1/3rd of their annual salary). Followers of Nashville-area radio host Dave Ramsey would probably want to put the proceeds towards paying off the team's substantial debt load, something on the order of $60 million.

Sound off in the comments below, and let me know what you'd do...

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