Yesterday was a red letter day in Nashville Predators and NHL history. Blake Geoffrion signed a two year deal that could be worth $5 million if all bonuses are achieved. The annual base salary is $62,500 in the AHL and $765,000 at the NHL level.
When Geoffrion makes the NHL, it is believed that he will be the first fourth generation NHL player following in the footsteps of great-grandfather Howie Morenz, grandfather, Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion, and father, Dan Geoffrion. Morenz and "Boom Boom" are both in the Hockey Hall of Fame and have their jerseys retired by the Montreal Canadiens.
Geoffrion is the first Tennessean to be drafted by an NHL team and potentially will be the first player to play for their hometown team in a warm weather, non-traditional hockey market. It is a story that helps overcome the stigma associated with Southern Hockey.
Geoffrion will suit up in Pred colors for the first time as a pro at next month's Predator's Development Camp that starts on July 6 at Centennial Sportsplex.
Here is the official release from the Predators...
NASHVILLE PREDATORS SIGN BRENTWOOD NATIVE BLAKE GEOFFRION
-2010 Hobey Baker Award winner is the first Tennessee native to sign an NHL contract-
Nashville, Tenn. (June 15, 2010) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed 2010 Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner and Brentwood, Tenn., native Blake Geoffrion to an entry-level contract. Geoffrion is the first Tennessee native drafted by an NHL team (56th overall by the Predators in the 2006 Entry Draft) and first to sign an NHL contract.
Geoffrion, 22 (2/3/88), won the Hobey Baker, award given to college hockey’s most outstanding player, after tying for second in the nation in goals (28) and finishing first in Division I hockey in power-play tallies (15). A tri-captain of the University of Wisconsin Badgers in 2009-10, Geoffrion posted 50 points (28g-22a) in 40 games, helping the school reach the NCAA National Championship Game. In addition to recently being named USA Hockey’s College Player of the Year, the 6-1, 196-pound right wing was a First-Team West All-American, and a First-Team WCHA selection in his senior season. Geoffrion was also the Most Valuable Player of the West Regional after leading UW to victories over Vermont and St. Cloud State with five points (2g-3a) in the two games.
During his four-season collegiate career, Geoffrion amassed 114 points (55g-59a) and 243 penalty minutes in 146 games. The Nashville Youth Hockey League product is a fourth generation player – his grandfather, Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion is a Hockey Hall-of-Famer and was an 11-time All-Star, and great grandfather, Howie Morenz, was part of the Hall of Fame’s first induction class, and was a three-time Hart Trophy winner. The two won a combined nine Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens. His father, Danny, was drafted eighth overall by the Canadiens in the 1978 Draft, and played for both Montreal and Winnipeg during his NHL career, as well as Quebec in the World Hockey Association. His two younger brothers, Brice and Sebastien, both worked their way through the Nashville youth hockey system, and now play for the University of Alabama-Huntsville.
Jim Diamond attended the signing ceremony and presents his story and pictures.
Here is Bryan Mullen's Tennessean story, blog post, and video from the signing event.
From the blog world comes stories from Forechecker, Section 303, and What the Puck.
Mark Wheeler at the City Paper also filed a report.
NHL.com got into the mix with a "Hockey Royalty to Nashville Post" that is very similar to Forechecker's from the day before.
Finally, fans got a big thanks from the man himself @BlakeGeoffrion: Thank you to everyone who came today.
I was a co-host along with Anthony Curatolo on Ryan Porth's RLD Radio yesterday. It was a good show that featured Jeff Marek of the CBC and Adam Jahns, Blackhawks beat writer for the Chicago Sun Times.
It was a good show with a variety of topics including the Entry Draft, Free Agency and the Stanly Cup Finals. It was a good show that is worth a listen.
In Pred Nation...
Hockey's Future has their look at the Preds at this year's Entry Draft.
The 13th Annual First Tennessee Nashville Predators Foundation Dr. Mac Memorial Golf Tournament is set for September 14th at the Legends Golf course. All Predators players will be in attendance. Go here for details or to sign up.
Around the NHL...
Matt Reitz continues his blogger awards today with the announcement of the Selke Trophy.
After the four Hawks players visited the tonight show on Monday night, TMZ video caught Patrick Kane out pimping the cup and heading in to a club with his team mates.
The Boston Bruins will hold a press conference later today to announce that Cam Neely will be named the team's president.
From @BlueJacketsBuzz: Blue Jackets cleaning house as they sack all assistant coaches & strength & cond. coach. The Zamboni driver is nervous.
It was no surprise that Montreal bought out the contract of Georges Laraque.
Puck Daddy is in the odds making mood it appears as he comes up with numbers for next weeks Hockey Hall of Fame prospects.
Hockey's Future ranks the top prospects from the WHL that are draft eligible.
The proposed Silver State Arena, which is set to be built near the strip in Las Vegas, is still looking to land an NHL team as discussed in this article from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Ken Campbell does the math and shows that all the teams in the Stanley Cup finals the past four years spent to at least 95% of the cap.
Ryan at the RLD has the third version of his mock draft. He also has a list of potential buy out candidates.
Mirtle takes a look at last season's NHL attendance figures and labels the Predators as a success. He ususally gives Nashville a fair shake as he is one of the frew from the GTA that understands they dynamics of hockey in Nashville.
Even while Charles Wang is waiting for a Lighthouse deal, he has found a way to boost ticket sales at the Coliseum. Chris Botta has the story.
Michael Langlois has an article and an audio interview with Hall of Famer Andy Bathgate at Vintage Leaf Memories. The audio has a nice split speaker arrangement to make it a more listenable interview.
After being announced as the new captiain of the Leafs on Monday, Dion Phaneuf announced 40% more truculence next year as the Leafs unseat the Oilers as the NHL's worst team.
Odds and Ends...
It turns out that the "traditional" Vuvuzela is a fraud. It has only been common for five years since a boat load of them were brought in from China. Since no official has enough guts to ban it, it will continue to give novice soccer fans like me something to complain about.
Microsoft is battling free online competitors for their office products by offering online free versions of MS Office 2010.
Close to home, with all the recent problems with flooding, congress is playing politics with the National Flood Insurance Program. Until they pass an extension, no one can get flood coverage.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass