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Predators belly up to the bargain bin

The Tennessean reported this morning that the Predators have signed Greg Zanon, Darcy Hordichuk and Kevin Klein to new contracts, along with two of this year's draft picks.

David Poile really loves those "20% off used player" coupons...

Zanon stepped in and logged solid playing time as a stay-at-home defenseman last season, killing 4:09 of PK time per game in 66 appearances. He's the type of guy that nobody really notices out there, which for a blueliner, can be a very good thing indeed. Zanon also led the team with 189 Blocked Shots, good for 8th in the league - that kind of commitment to team success could keep Zanon in the NHL for quite a while. His deal is for two years, averaging $725,000.

Klein is one of the Predators' top prospects, and is expected to make the leap to NHL duty this fall. He's one of the reasons the team was able to deal away Ryan Parent to Philadelphia in the Peter Forsberg trade. He signed for one year at $500,000.

Hordichuk is a workmanlike banger who accepted his qualifying offer of $517,000 for next season, but it remains to be seen how much of a role he'll have this year. He's coming off a lackluster campaign wherin he played a team-low 4:48 per game.

These signings should pretty much wrap up the offseason transactions for Nashville*(update below), as Vernon Fiddler remains the only unsigned free agent. Considering the constraints he's been working under, GM David Poile has done an admirable job putting together what looks to be a strong defensive team. It certainly looks different from last season's offensive attack that went three lines deep, but on paper this appears to be a playoff team that may in fact be more balanced than the crew that got bounced in the first round for the third consecutive season.

UPDATE: Silly me, I left out the important factor of the Salary Cap Minimum which remains to be achieved. Depending on whose numbers you look at, there may well be around $2-2.5 million yet to spend before the first puck drops in October.

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