Are the Preds interested in Anaheim’s Hiller?
If the Predators are making a move in goal, it will be for a goalie they’re absolutely convinced will come in and help this season.
The Hiller option is an interesting one, and of the two Ducks goalies available, he is likely the preference. The problem, besides the uncertainty of Rinne’s availability, is the price tag. The Predators are a budget team and are already paying Rinne $7 million. Hiller is earning $4.5 million this season, so that would be nearly $12 million committed to goaltending for a team that isn’t a cap team. The Predators like Hiller, but they’re also well aware that his best hockey came before he was sidelined by vertigo. He has a .898 save percentage in 12 games. By comparison, Mazanec is at .927, earning $610,000 (per CapGeek.com). So every win they get from Mazanec becomes one of the best values in the NHL.
Another option could be Washington’s Michal Neuvirth, who can’t be happy with the distance being created between him and Braden Holtby. He is signed through next season at $2.5 million, and even that might be too high a ticket if the Predators believe Rinne will recover fully and have faith in Hutton and Mazanec.
The likely course of action is to wait until next week’s MRI and see if there’s any more clarity on the Rinne recovery front. If there’s a setback, then it may be time for the Predators to make their one move.