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The first Nashville Predator-related domino has fallen; Goc to Florida…

One of the key unrestricted free agents of the Nashville Predators is now gone. Versatile winger Marcel Goc has signed a three year deal worth $5.19 million.

The Calw, Germany native will earn $1.73 million per year. And he’s worth every penny.

Goc spent a lot of last season on the shelf after a couple different shoulder injuries but he was well on his way to posting new career highs in just about every offensive category partly due to the Preds’ injury riddled center position. Goc ended up logging some top line minutes for a short period of time when Matthew Lombardi, David Legwand and Cal O’Reilly all went down with various injuries at different points of the season.

Speaking of O’Reilly, he’s one of the players embroiled in this Qualifying Offers fiasco. Letting Goc walk could come back to bite General Manager David Poile and the Predators if it’s ruled that O’Reilly (and Nick Spaling, Sergei Kostitsyn and Matt Halischuk) are unrestricted free agents and are free to sign wherever they want. If that happens, with Goc gone, that will leave just Legwand, Mike FisherJerred Smithson and an injured Lombardi down the middle.

While Goc will be missed regardless, if it’s found that O’Reilly was, in fact, extended a Qualifying Offer correctly than the blow will be softened a tad. If not, it’ll be intensified.

PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Nicholson // special to (used with permission)