In somewhat of a surprise turn around, the Nashville Predators resigned their top two free agent’s after Wednesday’s free agent deadline had passed and they had become available to all 29 other NHL teams.
Steve Sullivan and Joel Ward, who were key players on last year’s team, both resigned with the Predators on Wednesday afternoon.
Steve Sullivan signed a two-year deal, worth $3.75 million per year according to Canada’s TSN. Negotiations had been ongoing with the recent Masterton Trophy winner for many weeks as there appeared to have been difficulty in establishing Sullivan’s value in dollars and length of contract.
Shortly after the signing, Sullivan made a post saying “House not for sale” on the popular Twitter social network service announcing his decision to legions of Predator fans.
Sullivan appeared on 104.5 The Zone radio after the signing and indicated that he had advised Predator GM David Poile that he would continue to stay in touch after the deadline passed.
Sullivan explained the situation, “I honestly never knew what the market was. I thought it was fair for everybody to go on the market and see. It all worked it’s way out and everyone wins. The sticking point was dollars, and we let the market sort it out. I love it in Nashville and I didn’t want to go anywhere else.”
Earlier in the day, the Predators announced the resigning of popular Pred forward, Joel Ward, to a two year deal worth a total of $3 million dollars.
Two other Predators who went thorough the free agent process found new teams to play for in the coming season.
Shot blocking specialist, Greg Zanon was signed by the Minnesota Wild to a three-year $5.2 million contract. Vern Fiddler went to the Phoenix Coyotes with a two-year, $2.2 million dollar contract. Little used, defenseman Ville Koistinen was signed by the Florida Panthers
Several other ex-Predators remain on the free agent market and are unlikely to return to the team including Radek Bonk, Greg De Vris and Scotty Nichol.
The signings of Sullivan and Ward goes a long way in solidifying the Predator’s team for the coming season. It is possible that additional free agent signings will occur in the days ahead.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass and the Columbia Daily Herald