This morning, I was thinking about the players that we extended qualifying offers to at the end of June. Ryan Jones, Cal O'Reilly and Antti Pihlstrom were among that group of seven. So I checked the website to see if I could unearth any more information about whether those offers were accepted. I ventured to the roster page and found what you see here.
Greg deVries (thank you, Lord), Scott Nichol and Radek Bonk are all absent. Now granted, these three became free agents last Wednesday so they have no ties to the Predators organization anymore. The fact that we haven't made an offer to them says to me that we are ready to move on without them.
David Poile has been quoted as saying that we are still looking to sign a veteran defenseman for a year. While Greg deVries fits the "veteran defenseman" bill, it seems apparent that he will not be the guy we look to in order to fill that vacancy.
Scott Nichol is a good penalty killer but we managed just fine without him while he was out with that monster concussion for most of the season. Like Fiddler, Nichol was a fan favorite for his openness to the Nashville community. However, his roster spot can be filled by a rising star for less salary so I'm fairly certain his time in Nashville has drawn to a close as well.
To be honest, I never expected we would try to re-sign Radek Bonk so no love lost there. We signed Bonk during the craziness that was the off-season of 2007 so he more or less filled a void for us left by so many of the players we shed due to budgetary constraints. Not that we're too much better off budget-wise than we were three seasons ago...however, stressing once again that there are a lot of young players ready to flex their NHL muscles for us, Bonk will more than likely skate off down the zamboni tunnel, quietly embracing a life beyond playing professional hockey.
What really interests me about the current roster, is the presence of Ryan Jones, Antti Pihlstrom, Patric Hornqvist and Alexander Sulzer. Of these four, only Hornqvist and Sulzer are under contract with the Predators. Are we to assume that both Ryan and Antti have agreed to the qualifying offers put on the table? If that is the case, are all four guaranteed a spot on our roster come the start of the season? Where is Cal O'Reilly in the mix of things? Cal played a few games with us at the end of the season and his performance had me looking forward to next season. While we're at it, where's Mike Santorelli? He is still under contract with us AND he was called up for a few games too. Shouldn't his name be on the roster somewhere if they are including Jones, Hornqvist, Pihlstrom and Sulzer?
I can not recall how much roster watching I did last season though I am pretty positive it was far less than what I have done already this summer. With all the holes we have to fill, could it be that the Front Office and coaching staff are already establishing the team before training camp? Or did they pad the current roster with those players so it wouldn't look so pitiful?
Feel free to enlighten me if I'm missing something obvious here. I could be having a blonde moment.