Monday, June 18, 2007

The Nashville shuffle

If the Nashville Predators are not sold by June 30, which seems unlikely now, sources say club owner Craig Leipold is prepared to vastly trim his player payroll next season, even if it means dismantling a Stanley Cup contender.
The Predators are considered one of the deepest organizations in the NHL but the fire sale could begin as early as July 1 when marquee free agents such as Peter Forsberg and Paul Kariya could be jettisoned.
... Rodier said he had been told that NHL governors don't traditionally hold meetings during the summer and that he assumed the next available time would come in September. What that means is Leipold will be directing the club's hockey operations department and setting the budget for the forthcoming season.
If Leipold does decide to employ what the Post calls a "scorched-earth tactic," things could get awfully ugly next season in Nashville. It's a potential ploy that leaves the NHL governors in a situation where it makes sense to okay the sale sooner rather than later, or risk the sideshow that a mass sell off would create throughout the 2007-08 season.

Leipold and Balsillie likely made an agreement before the purchase deal whereby the outgoing owner would activate the team's escape clause, something that came to fruition on Friday, and I don't see why the club's potential dismantling wouldn't have also been agreed upon beforehand.

In other words: The governors can approve the deal, or be prepared for things to get messy on the ice.

And it strains the limits of credulity to say that the fans would be able to buy up 14,000 tickets per game for a team that's in the toilet.



At 2:04 PM, June 18, 2007, Blogger Jes Gőlbez said...

The NHL is awfully fussy about who it lets into the old boys club, so I wouldn't expect a quick sale.

It's sad that a firesale could happen...if it DOES have to happen, I hope the GM is smart enough to keep the core guys like Weber as untouchables.

At 2:46 PM, June 18, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like it's already begun - with the Flyers landing two of the biggest free agent names in exhange for a crummy draft pick they didn't want anyway.

This is a golden chance for teams seeking players to swoop in and make a deal. Vokoun, surely, must be seen as excess salary after the season Mason had.

John Ferguson! I demand you trade your first-rounder to Nashville for Vokoun! Throw in Travis Green if you have to, but make it happen, man!

C'mon everybody, spread the rumour, Vokoun to Toronto. If enough people talk about it, it happens!

At 3:47 PM, June 18, 2007, Anonymous Conrad said...

Throw in Travis Green if you have to, but make it happen, man!

This is hilarious.

At 4:44 PM, June 18, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually this is Balsillie's plan. Don't resign the free agents (Karyia and Forsberg go elsewhere) and get rid of a few high paid veterans to get down to the MINIMUM payroll of $34 million.

Then next year, when the team moves to Hamilton and the cap goes to $55 million, Balsillie will have $21 million of cap space to sign the following:

2008 UFAs
Iginla, Heatley,Thornton, Marleau, Hoosa, Demitra and many others

2008 RFAs
Crosbey, Ovechkin. While Pittsburgh would match any offer, Washington doesn't the financial ability to match a 20% of cap ($11 miilion) offer for Ovechkin.

So while the 2007/08 Nashville Preditors will be crap, which will keep attendance low, the 2008/09 Hamilton Preditors will be great, and sell a lot of season tickets, with Heatley and Ovechkin as the stars.

At 10:55 PM, June 18, 2007, Blogger Paul Nicholson said...

I hate how plausible that sounds.

At 8:47 AM, June 19, 2007, Blogger PPP said...

I just read that Vokoun might go to Toronto!

(psst...anonymous...good plan!)


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