As the off season starts to settle in, Predators fans do have some activities to look forward to this summer.
Up first is the NHL Awards show in Vegas on June 22nd. Tickets are on sale now as fans are allowed and encouraged to attend. If you can’t attend in person, the event will be aired live at 6 pm CT on Versus in the United States and on CBC in Canada.
Jay Mohr is hosting the event for the second year in a row. In a press release issued by the NHL, Mohr stated that he was “really excited to return to Las Vegas for the 2011 NHL Awards in June.” Mohr added that he “had a great time hosting the event last year and look[s] forward to celebrating thos season’s top hockey performances — and the chance to poke a little fun, too.”
The Predators will be nicely represented at the Awards show, having been nominated for four of the awards. Nashville captain Shea Weber is nominated for the Norris Trophy for best defenseman, while Pekka Rinne is up for the Vezina Trophy for the League’s best goaltender. Head Coach Barry Trotz and General Manager David Poile are also up for the awards handed out for best coach (Jack Adams trophy) and General Manager of the Year.
The weekend following the Awards show is the NHL draft, June 24-25. The entire draft can also be seen on television. While the Predators first round pick belongs to the Ottawa Senators (traded for Mike Fisher), Nashville will get to work in the second round, starting with New Jersey’s pick, traded to the Predators for Jason Arnott last off season.
On June 27th the Predators rookie development camp begins and runs through July 4th.
In the midst of the development camp, free agency frenzy begins. Don’t expect the Predators to make a big splash in the free agency market, but the date is important because the Predators have several key RFA and UFAs who need contracts by that date.
If a restricted free agent does not receive a qualifying offer before July 1st, they become an unrestricted free agent and can be signed by any team without compensation to the Predators.
Unrestricted free agents can sign with whatever team they want after the July 1st deadline. Nashville’s UFAs of note include Joel Ward, Shane O’Brien, Marcel Goc and Steve Sullivan.
It comes as no surprise to point out that Nashville’s priority to sign is Weber, a restricted free agent.
While the date has yet to be announced, the Skate of the Union will take place at some point soon after the July 1st deadline. Those in attendance to hear from the Predators front office and coaching staff will also be able to purchase used equipement. Last year, Weber was introduced as team Captain and Preds fans got to see new Predator Matthew Lombardi for the first time in Nashville.
August is the summer month that will seem like it lasts forever as no Predator-related events are scheduled to take place. But Predators rookie training camp begins on September 12th and the rest of the team shows up starting on September 15th.
Before you know it summer will be over and it will be time to drop the puck on the 2011-12 hockey season.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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