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Predators re-sign Filip Forsberg to six-year $36M contract

The Nashville Predators have signed young scorer Filip Forsberg to a six-year $36 million contract extension. 

The deal is similar to the contract the Columbus Blue Jackets gave forward Brandon Saad last summer after the team acquired him from the Chicago Blackhawks. Like Saad, the 22-year-old Forsberg was coming off his entry-level contract though Forsberg was considered less susceptible to an offer sheet. 

Still, the Predators know the issues of an offer sheet from first-hand experience, which was why it was important for Nashville to make a deal before July 1 when teams could give Forsberg an official offer.

The last two seasons Forsberg’s notched 63 points and 64 points respectively. In 2015-16 he tied a Nashville Predators single-season record set by Jason Arnott with 33 goals. The Predators acquired Forsberg at the 2013 trade deadline from the Washington Capitals for Martin Erat and Michael Latta.

The contract will buy up one season of Forsberg’s unrestricted free agency years.

“Filip is among the most skilled, dynamic talents we've ever had in the organization and is an integral part of our success for the next six years and beyond,” general manager David Poile said in a statement provided by the team. “While we have already seen his creativity, hockey sense and puck skills, he has yet to reach the peak of his abilities. We have full confidence that he will continue to blossom into one of the top players in the world. 

Forsberg’s agent J.P. Barry recently spoke with The Tennessean about how he looked at a framework of a contract.

"There's a range of contracts out there for players this age," Barry said during a recent phone interview. "The longer-term ones, there's several at the five-, six-year mark and there's only a couple that go as far as eight, so we're trying to pinpoint the range that's the most comfortable to both of us."

In regards to other NHL players that he views as comparable to Forsberg, Barry said that he is "looking at those forwards that had elite numbers coming out of the entry level."

According to General Fanager, Forsberg’s deal is similar to that of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (seven years at $6 million per-year), Jordan Eberle (six years at $6 million per-year) and Aleksander Barkov (six years at $5.9 million per-year).

The Tennessean also listed Vladimir Tarasenko (eight years $7.5 million per-year) as a high-end comparable. His deal is the first amongst a solid restricted free agent class that includes, at forward, Nathan MacKinnon, Johnny Gaudreau and Nikita Kucherov. 

During the season he had a 56.55 5-on-5 score and venue adjusted CF% and a plus-5.86 5-on-5 CF% Rel.

Forsberg is already the top all-around forward on the team. He ranked second on the team in average ice-time per-game at 19:03. 

By the end of the season, Forsberg turned into one of the team’s top penalty killers. He averaged 1:46 of shorthanded ice-time per-game.

With Forsberg signed, the Predators now have $7.7 million in salary cap space for next season with only Calle Jarnkrok left to re-sign as far as RFAs. The team also planns to buy out or trade forward Eric Nystrom.

This wouldn’t give the Predators a ton of space to go after premium free agents this offseason, such as Boston’s Loui Eriksson. But if the Predators can move a contract that could free up some space to play with on July 1. 

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