The Nashville Predators have successfully locked up a huge part of their defense corps for the long term, as pending restricted free agent Roman Josi inked a 7-year deal today. Josi worked himself into the top pairing this season alongside Shea Weber, and shows great potential to fill leading roles at even strength and on the power play for years to come. It's always great news to see a player who doesn't want to drag things out, and makes a long-term commitment to stay in Smashville, as Patric Hornqvist and Kevin Klein have done over the last year.
|2012 - Roman Josi||48||5||13||18||-7||8||1||0||1||96||5.2|
Josi was by far the most prominent RFA remaining on David Poile's to-do list, but there are still a number of role players who remain to be dealt with, including Nick Spaling, Matt Halischuk, Bobby Butler, Daniel Bang, Vic Bartley and Jonathon Blum.
It's interesting to compare where Josi is at this point with where Ryan Suter was when he signed his first big deal, a 4-year $14 million contract in the summer of 2008:
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That's not at all a bad showing by Josi so far, who already seems to boast top-flight offensive skills, while playing against other teams' best lines without taking many penalties.
From the Preds' announcement:
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed defenseman Roman Josi to a seven-year, $28 million contract. He will make $2.5 million in 2013-14, $3 million in 2014-15, $4 million in 2015-16, $4.25 million in 2016-17, $5 million in 2017-18, $5.25 million in 2018-19 and $4 million in 2019-20.
"Re-signing Roman was a top priority as we look to regroup heading into the 2013-14 season," Poile said. "Roman has proven, with his growth and success here in Nashville and on the international stage, that he is one of the best young defensemen in the NHL. Roman's skating ability and instincts have allowed him to play in all key situations. With today's signing, we have our top defensive pairing locked up long-term, and we look forward to Roman's continued development and contribution to the Predators' on-ice success."