As we all wait on Gary Bettman to get down off his high horse and resolve this labor situation (Right now that looks about as likely as Axl Rose and Slash reuniting for a reunion tour, which for all you non-classic rock fans not too likely) Poille and Co. were making moves to solidify the Preds lineup for next year and beyond. First off to eat some of the minutes on the blueline left in the wake of Suter and Boullion’s departures and to ease the pressure on youngsters Blum, Ellis, and Josi former Shark great Scott Hannan was brought aboard. At the 1 year and $1 million the Preds gave him Hannan is an absolute bargain that would help any team without costing an arm and leg. While he won’t put up eye popping stats (Only 12 points last year as a Flame and a career high of 24 points achieved in 2005/06 and 2006/07 with the Sharks) and isn’t exactly a kid anymore (He’ll be 34 in January) his steadying veteran presence and fearlessness when it comes to blocking shots and taking hits go beyond the stat sheet and contribute to wins as much as goals and assists.
After bringing in the tough as nails defenseman in Hannan Poille then moved to resign Mike Fisher who would have been a UFA on July 1, 2013. In signing #12 to 2 year deal worth $4.2 million per year Poille management guaranteed us at least 3 more years of
looking at Carrie Underwood grit and offensive production from the center position. While the cap hit may be heavy it was crucial to keep Fisher in the fold to show both the guys on the team and potential external free agents that the Preds will spend the necessary money to put a competitive team on the ice. Fisher, Legwand and Gaustad form a 1-2-3 combo down the middle that though it may not be Los Angeles (Kopitar-M. Richards-Stoll) or Pittsburgh’s down the middle trios (Crosby-Malkin-Sutter) it is a formidable center corps that brings as much 2 way play as any group of pivots in the league.
All in all after watching Suter leave for the land of 10,000 Lakes (Has that ever actually been verified?) the front office has done an above average job at ensuring the Preds will maintain their high on-ice standards. Obviously making sure Weber stays on Broadway and not Broad Street was the big one, but bringing resigning Wilson, Fisher, Kostitsyn, and Gaustad prove that they will back up their big money proclamations. Also bringing in a glue guy like Hannan reinforces the “Predators way” of finding diamonds in the rough in free agency for short money that can help the team in ways the other 29 teams couldn’t think of (Joel Ward anyone?)
As always for those of you who enjoy my videography here’ s a Power Play piece on the Hannan and Fisher deals, more or less reiterating everything above.