The Nashville Predators will reportedly announce late Wednesday afternoon that they have agreed to an extension with goalie Pekka Rinne. Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed. UPDATE: TSN is reporting Rinne’s extension is for two years and $6.8 million ($3.4 million each).
Nashville, like Montreal, was one of the teams that could become active in the trade market before the March 3 deadine because they had two netminders facing free agency this summer. The Preds were reportedly going to make a choice, based on both the on-ice performances of Rinne and Dan Ellis and the progress of contract negotiations, and then open up trade talks regarding the one they didn’t extend.
Which means Ellis is now trade bait.
The Blackhawks have been rumored to be close to a deal with Florida, upgrading their situation between the pipes to include Tomas Vokoun. If Vokoun is indeed available in a trade, however, there would be many potential suitors. The Philadelphia Flyers were one team that was allegedly looking for a new face to put at the top of their depth chart in goal, and they would likely have interest in Vokoun.
Nashville had also reportedly received offers for 26-year old defenseman Dan Hamuis, who will also become a free agent this summer.
The likelihood that a trade would go down inside the Central Division, either between the Blackhawks and Blues or Predators, is doubtful. But the potential of Ellis and Hamhuis being packaged could impact the trade market competing with the Blackhawks for Vokoun, if the Hawks aren’t interested in making an offer to Nashville along the lines that they had discussed with Florida.
The Predators are currently in second place in the Central, 16 points behind the Blackhawks, and are sitting in seventh place in the Western Conference.
We’ll see where the trade winds blow as the Olympic tournament continues, but Nashville might become a major player in both rumors and player movement in the coming weeks.