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Predators plan on retaining their unrestricted free agents-to-be

From the Tennessean’s Nate Rau:

Nashville Predators Chairman Tom Cigarran said the team remains committed to signing its top players to lucrative contracts, even though the team has yet to be profitable and members of the ownership group have had to put in $60 million of their own money over the last five years.

“We were going to keep the very best players to the extent we can, to the extent they want to play here,” Cigarran said, explaining the ownership group’s willingness to dip into members’ own pockets. “To the extent they want to play here, we would step up and make sure we had the money available to pay them.”

Since the mostly local ownership group bought the team in 2007, its payroll has risen from $34 million to $56 million this season, the Predators said.

“And next year, if we sign the key players who are in the paper all the time, which we are prepared to do, it’ll be substantially higher,” Cigarran said.

Continued with an obvious trio of players listed in Ryan Suter, Shea Weber and Alex Radulov.

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How long do these men continue to fund this through their non-hockey revenues before they say, ok that’s it.  How can they sink at least 8.5 per into Weber, plus I think Suter gets between 6 and 7 per via Free Agency, plus both Kostitsyns, 10 total UFA and RFA’s after the season is completed.

Posted by Jim P from Nashville on 04/29/12 at 09:39 AM ET

Ducksworth's avatar

Ha yeah good luck with that…

Posted by Ducksworth from Brownstown, MI on 04/29/12 at 01:43 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I’ll believe it when I see it.  And until I do I won’t and can’t take NAS’s “commitment” seriously…  talk is easy in April.

Posted by Primis on 04/29/12 at 01:52 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

According to Forbes, the value of the Predators as a franchise increased by approximately 15 million dollars over the last year and their books aren’t open, so them claiming an operating loss carries as much weight as George Lucas telling David Prowse that ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ has yet to turn a profit.

The Predators are not in financial trouble and their ownership is more solid than it has ever been.

Still, like Primis says, I’ll believe it when I see it. Nashville is still an under-the-midpoint team, which is important for revenue sharing.  I believe they’re making money off their hockey team, but I’m not convinced they’re making enough to spend within $8M of the cap next season (assuming that this remains the magic number for revenue sharing under the new CBA).

But no matter what the real truth ends up being, the truth in this situation is that a team executive is not going to paint anything but a rosy picture to the press while his team is active in the 2nd round of the playoffs.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/29/12 at 02:53 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

even though the team has yet to be profitable and members of the ownership group have had to put in $60 million of their own money over the last five years.

More information on that $60M of their own money:

Of the $60 million Cigarran says local owners have contributed to the team, $15 million was to purchase the shares of former minority investor William “Boots” Del Biaggio from a bankruptcy trustee, according to federal bankruptcy filings. The Predators would not disclose what percentage of the remaining $45 million was from operating losses.

So they dropped a quarter of that figure of “their own money” to buy more of the team and keep it away from any other potential investors.

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120429/NEWS01/304290057/Profit-eludes-Nashville-Predators?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Sports Nashville Predators

The whole article is filled with “the team would not disclose”.

It’s smokescreen bullshit.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/30/12 at 11:29 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Like I said on Twitter, it’s part of the game for sports franchises that are struggling and are subsidized by taxpayers. They insist that the intangible value of the economic activity they generate for community businesses more than offsets the almost inevitable operating losses for the team and/or the facility they play in. The Predators’ owners at least got into the game saying that they never expected to be a money-making operation.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/30/12 at 11:42 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The Predators have an ownership group which “sells” part of the arena usage to themselves (just like the Capitals and Blackhawks… who also say they “struggle” to make money).

The problem with the game the Predators are playing is that they just tell Nashville they’re losing money, but won’t show them how.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/30/12 at 12:03 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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