USATSI_8521713_154158418_lowresThe Nashville Predators signed impending free agent Mike Ribeiro to a two year contract worth $7 million, thereby opening the floodgates for more moves.

General manager David Poile knew that signing Ribeiro was a key part of moving forward and the confidence enabled him to sign defenceman Barret Jackman to a two year deal worth $4 million. The Predators also picked up centre Cody Hodgson on a one year contract worth just a little over a million bucks.

Obviously, the Ribeiro deal is a big piece here.

“I met with Mike [Wednesday] morning and certainly reinforced to him the importance of his being a good citizen in the community, and Mike is certainly committed to our team and to his family,” Poile said. “He really appreciates us showing confidence in him as a hockey player and as a person.”

That whole “good citizen” thing has to do with a lawsuit from Ribeiro’s former nanny in Texas. She claims that in 2012 he assaulted her and claims that Ribeiro’s wife threatened her. “Bodily injury” is alleged by the nanny and the lawsuit also suggests that there was some form of sexual assault involved shortly after the young woman graduated from high school.

The Predators have, of course, been aware of the complaint and the allegations and went ahead and signed their man anyway. So this could get very interesting in a big hurry for Poile and Co.

The other signings are more innocuous and less fraught with controversy, like the Jackman deal. The veteran defenceman fleshes out the blueline group, giving the Predators three left-handed defenders and three right-handed defenders in the top six. Jackman had previously been a fixture on the St. Louis Blues.

And Hodgson is looking for a new start in new digs. The Buffalo Sabres placed him on waivers on Monday and bought him out, paying him just about $800,000 over the next eight seasons along with the Predators’ salary.

Over three and a half seasons as a Sabre, Hodgson had 99 points. He only had 13 points this past season, including six goals. He’ll have to prove himself all over again in Nashville, but he is capable of so much more.

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