Prediction: Predators will struggle to make playoffs next season

As you have probably all heard by now, it seems Jim Basille (of RIM) is planning on buying the Nashville Predators. The thing is, Basille has very little interest in owning the Nashville Predators, he wants to own the Waterloo Blackberries (name made up by me). But this is where things get complicated regarding the Predators lease agreement on their arena. There seems to be an opt out clause in the lease if paid attendance averages under 14,000, but the city has the option of ‘topping’ up that number to 14,000 to ensure the team stays. Estimates on paid attendance have been as low as 12,000 for this past season.

So, knowing Basille wants to move the team and needs low attendance to break the lease to do that, what incentive does Basille have in maintaining a $40 million payroll to ice a good, entertaining team and lose money in the process? Right, very little. His only interest would be to keep young players that will be good players when he gets his team to Waterloo a couple years from now. So, say goodbye to unrestricted free agents Kimmo Timonen, Paul Kariya, and Peter Forsberg. But why stop there? Why not trade Steve Sullivan for a prospect or draft pick. He certainly won’t be around to play 3 years downt he road. Or he could trade high priced players like Tomas Vokoun, Jason Arnott and Marek Zidlicky.

The Nashville payroll was pushing close to $40 million this past season and were one of the better teams in the league. Don’t be surprised if it is $8-10 million lower (closer to the league minimum threshhold) next season with a team that may struggle to make the playoffs.

This article has 5 Comments

  1. Yeah, he;ll move a us city to canada. Sounds great, but I wonder what Mr. Gary “us is great” betman thinks about that? the nhl should be like this:

    22 US TEAMS (take those cities that are NOT hockey cities. Good hockey cities, Colrodo, det, chicago, new york! rangers and islanders, etc).
    8 canadian teams (6 now+ 1 in east, maybe hamilton, or quebcec city. And 1 in the west, saskatoon, WINNIPEG, or even victoria).

  2. The NHL will not allow the preds to move north of the border. bettman wants to see a team in houston, seattle, portland, and mostly las vegas before that happens. u can bet your ass the next time a team moves there will be a serious bid for vegas. and it would be great for the NHL if theyre the first pro team to get there.

    and waterloo? doubtful. theres already the laffs and the sabres in that area, ottawa not to far away. not to mention theres no arena. then winnepeg wasnt able to support a franchise, and it still wont. same goes for quebec city, although that would be great for canadian hockey if quebec gets another team. more crazy rivalries. hamilton doesnt have an arena, and its too close to toronto. and the maritimes cant support a hockey team. if it doesnt work in nashvlle they will try it in another US city.

  3. There are 3 teams in the greater New York area and two in the Los Angeles area so I am certainly convinced that southern Ontario can support another. There is over a million people living within half hour or so drive (Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Hamilton, Brantford) from where the arena is rumoured to be located so the area can definitely support a team. That population base is equal or greater than the populations of Ottawa, Calgary or Edmonton and close to double the population of Winnipeg or Quebec City.

    As for whether the league will let Basille move the team to Waterloo, well, I cannot see Basille wanting to own a team that loses money in Nashville or is a huge question mark with regards to profitibility in unproven locations such as Las Vegas or Houston or Seattle or Portland. I think he bought this team (over the Penguins) because of the opportunity to move it where as the league would not allow him to move Pittsburgh. And as for an arena, well, Basille has the money to build one.

  4. …How does that 25 acre parcel he purchased in Cambridge factor if he has no intention of building a rink for the new ‘tri-city predators’?
    He’s no dummy, I think hes done his homework on this…

  5. He won’t be trading Vokoun unless Tomas agrees to it… there’s a no-trade clause in his contract.

    Trading Zidlicky’s not a surprise, considering his less-than-stellar performance over the past year.

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