October 28, 2020

Predators sign Pekka Rinne to seven years, $49m

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Nashville Predators have signed goaltender Pekka Rinne to a seven-year, $49 million contract, and now they are turning their attention to his defense.

The Predators are trying to keep defensemen Ryan Suter and Shea Weber, who along with Rinne would form the core of the team.

“It just turned out that Pekka was the first one we were in position to negotiate with and bring to conclusion,” team chairman Tom Ciggaran said Thursday in a conference call.

“We have every intent of signing both Shea and Ryan, and we’re going to do everything we can to make that happen. … These guys are sort of home-grown, Ciggaran said. “They’re just people that we want to have around to be the core of a Stanley Cup winning team for years to come.”

Rinne had been set to become a restricted free agent July 1 along with Suter. Weber, also the team captain, will be a restricted free agent after being awarded $7.5 million through arbitration for this season.

Fans have criticised the Predators’ ownership group for not spending big money on players, and this deal for Rinne easily is the biggest yet for a franchise that started as an expansion team for the 1998-99 season.

“The money is there to sign these guys, and we have every intent of doing it,” Ciggaran said.

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