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THN.com Blog: Preds' Poile deserves praise for early off-season moves

Dan Ellis' .924 save percentage in the regular season was tops in the NHL. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Dan Ellis' .924 save percentage in the regular season was tops in the NHL. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

I don’t know what kind of incriminating photos David Poile has of Dan Ellis, but whatever it is, it has to be nasty.

Because, quite frankly, there’s no other explanation for Ellis putting his John Hancock on a deal worth far less than he could have snagged on the open market after July 1.

This is a goalie who, despite only having one NHL game on his resume prior to this season, posted the top save percentage – the stat most, including myself, believe is the best measure of a goalie’s overall ability – in both the regular season and playoffs.

When I first heard about Ellis’ new deal, I assumed the $3.5 million was his annual salary, not the two-year total. Even at $3.5 per, Ellis wouldn’t have been overpaid as a starting goalie.

So, in other words, at $1.5 million next season and $2 million in 2009-10, Ellis is a steal. And Poile, the only GM the Preds have ever known, should be applauded for the move.

The Ellis inking wasn’t the lone notch on Poile’s bedpost this off-season, either.

The 58-year-old also managed to get young blueline studs Shea Weber (selected No. 1 among THN’s top 50 free agents of 2008 in the latest issue) and Ryan Suter (another potential offer-sheet candidate) to sign extensions before July 1.

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This trio of signings more than makes up for the somewhat questionable contracts – in terms of length – given to Martin Erat ($31.5 million over seven years) and David Legwand ($27.5 over six) earlier this campaign.

And let’s give Poile credit for the hard work by his scouts, too. Nashville was one of THN’s first-round winners, grabbing Boston U center Colin Wilson, who showed exactly what he’s made of at the combine, and a goalie for the future in Tri-City’s Chet Pickard.

Mix all of Poile’s off-season ingredients, stick ‘em in the oven and out pops a cake worthy of (very) early 2008-09 THN Executive of the Year consideration.

Edward Fraser is the editor of thehockeynews.com. His blog normally appears Thursdays.

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