The Nashville Predators have re-signed forward Filip Forsberg to a six-year, $36 million contract with an average annual value of $6 million.
Forsberg, 22, was set to become a restricted free agent July 1.
Forsberg was acquired from the Capitals, who drafted him 11th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, in a 2013 trade-deadline deal that has proven to be an absolute steal for Nashville. Forsberg led the Predators in goals (33) and points (64) for the second straight season. He has a total of 60 goals and 133 points in 182 career regular-season games, all with Nashville. He also has 10 points in 20 playoff games.
The Predators advanced to the second round of the playoffs before losing to the eventual conference champion San Jose Sharks. Forsberg was intent on re-signing with Nashville, saying he never considered any other options. He is confident the Predators have a bright and successful future.
“Our team has been growing and growing every year,” he said. “This year was no exception. We had a really good run, and we’ve got the pieces in my opinion to take the next step here in the future and I want to be a big part of that, that’s for sure.”
The Nashville organization is just as pleased to lock up to the 22-year-old on a long-term extension.
“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,” Predators general manager David Poile said. “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 contract will keep him in Nashville until he is 27. He is now the highest-paid forward on the team but doesn’t plan to make any changes to his game.
“People are going to talk about it and obviously all of that, but at the same time I don’t want to change anything,” Forsberg said. “I want to play the type of game that I’ve always been playing, and I want to be the kind of guy that I’ve been with the team. Some things might change, but I hope to stay the same and obviously want to just play the same type of way and become a better player and help the team become even better and have a few successful seasons ahead of us.”
Nashville took important strides this season in establishing itself as a contender by acquiring first-line center Ryan Johansen from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for defenseman Seth Jones. With sniper James Neal along with wingers Craig Smith and Colin Wilson, as well as the hiring of offensive-minded head coach Peter Laviolette, the Predators have become a much more dynamic team. Forsberg is at the forefront of that dynamism, with his skill and creativity being a huge part of the team’s success. Throw in a few of the best defensemen in the game and one of the top goalies in Pekka Rinne and it’s no wonder why Forsberg is excited about Nashville’s future.
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