Not many NHL markets, if any, have gained more momentum the past few years than Nashville. The Predators, once a target for relocation, finished the 2011-12 season with a 48-26-8 record and average attendance of 16,691, the highest in the franchise’s history.
Even deputy commissioner Bill Daly admits the lockout isn’t helping build on last year’s successes.
“I think the really unfortunate part of where we are,” he told The Tennessean on Tuesday, “is not only the fact that we’ve done significant damage to this season’s revenues, but the bottom line is, by missing games, by missing training camp, by being in a labor dispute and a work stoppage, we’re certainly risking and threatening a slowdown to some of the momentum that we’ve had or been able to generate — some of the popularity we’ve been able to build throughout the league, including in some of the non-traditional markets.
“And I think the longer-term impact of that dynamic is as scary as anything else to us, and something we jointly should have an interest in trying to minimize at this point.”
That’s not to say Preds ownership isn’t supporting commissioner Gary Bettman in negotiations between the league and players. Nashville is still a money-loser, according to Forbes. And conceding what the club may lose in momentum, it stands to gain in other areas.
Among the benefits a new CBA could provide for the Preds, depending how negotiations end up:
—- A lower percentage of league revenue going to the players.
—- More revenue sharing.
—- Restrictions on free agency, pushing back the time homegrown players like Ryan Suter can leave to sign elsewhere.
—- Restrictions on front-loaded contracts, like the one the Preds had to give Shea Weber after the Flyers signed the defenseman to an offer sheet.