David Poile believes that forward Vernon Fiddler and defenseman Greg Zanon made valuable contributions to the Nashville Predators in recent seasons, but that did not mean the general manager was willing to pay significantly more in order to keep either one.
Fiddler and Zanon (both have played their entire NHL careers for Nashville) each earned significant raises Wednesday when they signed free-agent deals with other teams. Another former Predator, defenseman Ville Koistinen, signed a two-year pact with Florida.
The Predators attempted in recent weeks to re-sign Fiddler and Zanon but by Tuesday, Poile said it was unlikely either would return.
“I’m happy for both of them in that it seems they did well,” Poile said. “They got real nice pay increases. In this cap world, or in our case a budget situation, you can’t keep everybody.”
Zanon, who earned $750,000 last season made the biggest splash with a three-year, $5.8 million contract from Minnesota. He appeared in 203 games over three-plus seasons as a defensive presence for the Predators.
Fiddler, who made $900,000 last season, got a two-year $2.2 million contract from Phoenix. He played 305 games over six seasons with Nashville, had 93 points (45 goals, 48 assists) and won better than 50 percent of his faceoffs each of the previous four seasons.
“I talked to Zanon (Tuesday) night and I talked to Fiddler (Wednesday) morning, and I thanked them very much for their time in Nashville,” Poile said. “I thought they were terrific for us. They both played their role well every night, showed up every night and I thought they were good players.
“I’m happy that they got what they got.”