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Filip Forsberg is here to stay. Here's what his Nashville Predators future looks like

The Tennessean
The Tennessean
 2022-07-11

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After recording one of the best statistical seasons in Nashville Predators history, Filip Forsberg probably could have had his pick of teams in free agency.

Instead, he made it his priority to stay in Nashville, the city where he's played his entire 10-year NHL career and is the franchise's all-time leading scorer. It's the also city where he met his future wife, Erin, who he's set to marry later this month.

Now, Nashville is the city where Forsberg, 27, plans to finish his career. He said he hopes he won't be done when his new eight-year, $68 million contract runs out in 2030, but however much longer he stays in the NHL, he plans to be playing for the Predators.

"It means a lot that I've only played for this franchise," Forsberg said Monday, "and now it looks like that would be the plan for the rest of my career."

Forsberg signed his contract extension Monday, and it includes an $8.5 million average annual value through the 2029-30 season as well as no-movement and no-trade clauses, which are unusual for the Predators to include.

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"We want to be here, and we also like the security of being here," Forsberg said.

With NHL free agency opening on Wednesday, the Predators may not be done making roster moves. But with Forsberg locked in for another eight seasons, Nashville is bringing back a player coming off the best season of his career as the remainder of its scoring core stays intact.

Inside Filip Forsberg's contract negotiations

The deal took longer than Forsberg or Predators general manager David Poile expected. Still, neither Forsberg's camp nor Poile had any plans for him to be anywhere but Nashville next season.

"We never had another plan," Poile said. "Our plan A, B, C and D in the beginning this offseason was to sign him."

The 10-year veteran set the franchise record for career goals this season with 220 after recording a career best 42 goals and 42 assists for 84 points. It was a no-brainer for Poile to re-sign Forsberg, but he said the negotiations were more complicated than than they may have seemed.

"These negotiations took a bit longer than I think either side had anticipated or expected," Poile said. "But having said that, these are pretty complicated negotiations, and there were a few things that were important to both sides. It took a while to hammer those out."

Nashville rarely includes no-movement and no-trade clauses in its player contracts, which may have contributed to the length of the contract negotiations.

A no-movement clause stipulates that the player cannot be traded, waived or assigned to the minors without providing his consent, giving the Predators limited power to move him during the life of the contract.

Will Predators make another signing?

Forsberg is the second major signing for the Predators in the last week and a half. Nashville also added veteran defender Ryan McDonagh in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning on July 3.

"By checking [Forsberg's contract] off the list and adding an excellent defenseman in Ryan McDonagh before the draft, I feel that we're a better team now than how we ended the season," Poile said.

Even with the the re-signing of Forsberg and addition of McDonagh, who won two Stanley Cups and played for a third with the Lightning, Poile said he may not be done making roster moves.

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Monday is the last day for teams to make qualifying contract offers to their restricted free agents, and free agency opens Wednesday.

"There are a number of free agents out there that us and other teams could possibly be interested in," Poile said. "If we have that opportunity, we certainly would like to strengthen our team."

Poile said he's happy with how the team looks now, with Juuse Saros in goal, McDonagh at defense, and Forsberg returning on the top offensive line. Still, Nashville is on the hunt for more scoring firepower.

"We have some forwards maybe internally we can promote, and maybe there could be an addition there," Poile said.

The Predators have approximately $9.6 million in cap space available for free-agent signings. Some of the top available free-agent forwards that the Predators could target include Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary), Nazem Kadri (Colorado), Claude Giroux (Philadelphia) and Evander Kane (Edmonton).

What's next for Filip Forsberg?

With his future laid out in Nashville, Forsberg still has work to do. His production this season, though, is something he's hoping to repeat.

"I think this was a year that I've been looking for," Forsberg said. "This year, everything came together. … I'm more of a 200-foot player. I think I'm more reliable that I've been in the past. I think I'm competing harder. I think I'm more o f a leader. I think that's something that comes with a bit of time, too."

His decision to stay with the Predators came down to his and his fianceé's love for the city and his desire to win a Stanley Cup with the only team he's ever played for.

"The only thing we're missing is the Stanley Cup," Forsberg said. "That's the main driver for all of us."

"I definitely feel like I still have more in me," Forsberg said.

Emma Healy is a sports reporting intern for The Tennessean. Contact her at ehealy@gannett.com or follow her on Twitter @_EmmaHealy_ .

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Filip Forsberg is here to stay. Here's what his Nashville Predators future looks like

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