The Nashville Predators have re-signed center Mike Fisher to a two-year contract extension with a cap hit of $4.4 million, the club announced this morning.
Fisher just turned 35. He had 19 goals and 20 assists in 59 games this past season.
“Mike Fisher is a player and person anyone would want in their organization,” GM David Poile said. “He is a smart, two-way player who contributes on special teams and is solid in the face-off circle, as well as a member of our leadership group, a respected voice in the dressing room and an integral part of the Nashville community.”
Now that Fisher is signed, attention will turn to pending UFA Mike Ribeiro, who had 62 points as the Preds’ first-line center last season.
Yesterday, it was reported that Ribeiro would be talking to other teams as part of the free-agent interview process.
Nearly two weeks ago the agent for Mike Fisher told the Tennessean that a two-year deal with the Preds would work best for his client. However, there is still no deal between the two sides, which is “mildly surprising” as ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun writes.
Fisher’s two-year, $8.4 million deal is set to expire next month making him an unrestricted free agent.
The 35-year-old has expressed his desire to remain in Nashville.
So what’s the hold up?
It appears the two sides are struggling to agree on the value of a new deal.
“We’ve talked, and we talked as recently as Monday of this week, and we continue to have a very healthy dialogue,” Fisher’s agent, Todd Reynolds said. “It’s clear that it’s everyone’s goal is for Fish to stay there. It’s just that we have a little differing opinion on where the market is on him. And that’s nothing new in our business.”
Fisher scored 19 goals and 39 points in 59 games after missing the start of the season recovering from a ruptured Achilles.
Teams can begin talking to other team’s free agents on June 25.
The Nashville Predators and pending unrestricted free agent Mike Fisher have been negotiating on a new deal since as early as January and it appears things could get done shortly.
“I think it’s going to probably end up at two (years),” Fisher’s agent Todd Reynolds told The Tennessean’s Adam Vingan. “I don’t know that for certain, but I think that’s probably the right number for everyone involved.”
Fisher has spent the parts of the past five seasons with the Preds.
His two-year, $8.4 million contract is set to expire next month.
“I love the city and I love the guys here in the organization,” Fisher said in February. “It’s been great. Hopefully the business part of things will take care of itself, but I definitely want to be part of it for sure.”
After missing 21 games due to a ruptured Achilles, he returned to score 19 goals and 39 points in 59 games during the 2014-15 season.
“We’re making progress,” Reynolds said. “Everyone wants the same thing, and we’re just trying to come to an agreement on what that ultimately looks like.”
Perhaps the Nashville Predators face a few “What ifs?” considering the fact that Shea Weber got injured during their series against the Chicago Blackhawks, yet it doesn’t sound like they’ll need to play without him to start the 2015-16 season.
Weber told the Tennessean that his rehab from a knee injury (and eventual surgery) is going smoothly.
In fact, it sounds like the 29-year-old is on track to participate in Predators training camp.
“Just going to obviously try to find out from the doctor and see what he thinks, and if it’s ready to go, then we’ll go when he says it is,” Weber said. “I think there’s no question that I should be ready for training camp.”
That’s promising for Nashville.
The question is: how many players from the 2014-15 team will join him?
Predators GM David Poile more or less admitted that Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli will not be back. Unrestricted free agents Mike Ribeiro and Mike Fisher are big considerations, while RFAs such as Colin Wilson and Craig Smith should get raises. The team has up-and-comers alongside Weber on defense and ample space to make improvements.
In other words, Weber should have help next season, but we’ll see how much he receives. Either way, a fully healthy Weber would obviously make a huge difference for Nashville.
After 17 years and seven different cities, Nashville Predators veteran Matt Cullen is thinking about home.
“I’m going to spend as much time as I can and try to evaluate what I want to do,” Cullen, a Minnesota native and pending UFA, told the Dickinson Press. “I know already in my head that there’s a few places, if I do decide to play, I’d consider going to.
“I want to be close to home. My family will be home (Moorhead, MN) regardless next year.”
Cullen, who goes unrestricted on July 1 and turns 39 in November, just wrapped a two-year, $7 million deal with the Preds. His first year was fairly productive — 10 goals and 39 points in 77 games — and while he struggled early this season, Cullen eventually found his niche as a “versatility guy,” flipping between the middle and wing, jumping up into the No. 2 center spot when Mike Fisher went down to injury during the playoffs.
As for playing close to home, well, Minnesota is the obvious answer… but Cullen’s already done a tour with the Wild, having played there from 2010-13. Winnipeg is also relatively close to home, and it’s worth pointing out that Cullen played for Jets head coach Paul Maurice during his time with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Retirement could also be an option but, according to agent Pat Morris, Cullen still has plenty to give.
“I know that he should [keep playing],” Morris said, per The Tennessean. “He can still skate and still make plays, and he’s still a very good teammate.”