It did not take long after the Nashville Predators were eliminated from the second round of the playoffs by the Winnipeg Jets for rumors to start swirling on which players would be back next season, and others who could end up on the trade block. Trade chatter does not usually get the team involved - they normally have better and more important things to do ahead of the National Hockey League Entry draft - but sometimes, enough is enough.
There has been rampant rumors circulating about veteran goaltender Pekka Rinne as it pertains to his future as a member of the Predators, and things got out of hands on Monday night when it seems that the star goalie himself had published a message in attempt to thank fans for their support, perhaps before he eventually is dealt from his current club.
"I want to say thank you again to all of the amazing fans that have supported me and our team," said Rinne. "I feel as though I have let you guys down, but all of the supportive comments have made the loss easier to handle. We will come back next year stronger than ever."
There has been intense chatter since Rinne was pulled from Game 7 against the Jets. Sportsnet insider Nick Kypreos was on record during the Game 7 broadcast in Canada stating that he believes Rinne would be unable to bounce back from the humiliation he suffered in Game 7, and stated that Rinne could have played his final match up as a member of the Predators.
"I am just shocked at Pekka's play in that first period. They better come back and find a way to win or I think this will be it for Pekka there in Nashville, I don't think he can rebound off of this."
However, the Predators finally wanted the chatter to stop. On Tuesday, the Predators public relations crew decided to intervene by informing fans and reporters out there that the statement made by Rinne was a lie. The PR group revealed that Rinne does not have a Twitter account, and could not have made the heartfelt message that was published on Monday night.
The thank you note was therefore written by a true fan, who most likely wants to see Rinne stay in Nashville. The Twitter account has not be verified so it could be just anyone trying to spice up the trade rumors swirling about the veteran netminder.
Of course, some players are not expected to return to Nashville after the summer. According to the information provided byCapFriendly, the Predators have $67.5 million invested in 19 players and do have enough cap space to re-sign Ryan Hartman and Juuse Saros and still leave some room for additions if GM David Poile feels the need to make some upgrades on the free-agent or trade market.
While most Predators insiders do not expect significant changes to the roster during the offseason, it is almost certain that unrestricted free agents Scott Hartnell, Mike Fisher, Alexei Emelin and Anders Lindback aren’t likely to be re-signed. The Predators and Poile have more important priorities as they need to be sure they have sufficient cap space to re-sign Ryan Ellis, Kevin Fiala and Colton Sissons by next summer.