Every Tuesday Predlines will be brining you the latest news and analysis from the Central Division. Because the Predators success largely depends on the failures of our divisional opponents, we need to track their every move throughout the regular, post and off season. If we've left something of note out, contact us at [email protected]
The Chicago Blackhawks continue to implode after winning the Stanley Cup in June. The lastest victim of the team’s salary cap woes is Antti Niemi. After the restricted free agent selected to exercise his arbitration rights in hopes of earning maximum dollars for his Stanley Cup winning performance, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman walked away from the goalie and his award of $2.75 million.
The 26 year old Niemi is now an unrestricted free agent, but may have difficulty finding a new job. He had a record of 26-7-4 in 39 regular season games. Niemi’s playoff run was an impressive 16-6 record with a 2.63 GAA and a .910 save percentage.
In letting Niemi walk, the Blackhawks organization announced the signing of veteran Marty Turco for a one-year deal worth $1.3 million. The 35 year old was an unrestricted free agent who had spent his entire career with the Dallas Stars. After the Stars signed Kari Lehtonen , it was evident they were moving in new directions.
Turco’s numbers weren’t stellar last season going 22-20-11 in 53 games but neither was the defense in Dallas. He holds the record as the Stars leader in wins (262), shutouts (40), and games played (509). His gaa is 2.31 and save percentage throughout his NHL career is .911.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Not too much is going on in the Blue Jackets organization right now. On July 28th, the team announced they had resigned defenseman Anton Stralman to a one-year contract. While the club didn’t announce the terms of the contract, according to www.capgeek.com Stralman will be making $1.95 million next season. Stralman registered 6 goals and 28 assists for 34 points in 73 games for Columbus last season. He ranked second on the team in ice time playing an average of 20:29 per game.
Detroit Red Wings
The big news out of Detroit is that Mike Modano is expected to sign with the Red Wings on Thursday. The signing is a good fit since Modano is from Michigan, though most fans would have preferred Modano to sign with the Wild, having spent so many years in Minnesota. After 20 seasons with the Dallas Stars organization, Modano decided it wasn’t time to hang up the laces, even though the Stars no longer had room for the 40 year old veteran. Modano has 557 goals and 802 assists in 1,459 games.
While Modano signing with the Wings is big news, it isn’t the only news out of Motor City as of late. Last week, the Wings announced that Aaron Downer would be given a try-out at training camp this year after Downer asked GM Ken Holland for the opportunity. Downey was cut from the Phoenix Coyotes last year when he was given a professional try-out in the desert.
Downey, 35, is a former Red Wing who won the Cup in 2008, playing 56 games with Detroit. He’s known around the league as an enforcer, not a skilled player by any stretch of the imagination.
St. Louis Blues
The St. Louis front office has been very busy re-signing player after player, as well as bringing in a playoff hero by trading for Jaroslav Halak.
Just yesterday the team announced they re-signed the 2006 first pick overall, defenseman Erik Johnson to a two-year deal. The 22 year old led the Blues defense in points last season, scoring 10 goals and registering 29 assists. The deal is reportedly worth $5.2 million.
This offseason the Blues also locked up forwards David Perron, Alexandre Steen, Brad Winchester and defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo.