According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, the Nashville Predators and defenseman Roman Josi have agreed to terms on an eight-year extension. The deal is believed to have an average annual value $9.059 million, making him the third-highest paid defenseman in the league after Erik Karlsson and Drew Doughty. LeBrun also thinks the contract includes a full no-move clause and a $30-million signing bonus.
The $9-million cap hit is the largest ever given out by the Predators and general manager David Poile. The inclusion of the no-move clause is also important because Poile almost never includes trade protection in contracts. Goaltender Pekka Rinne is the only Predator currently with trade protection.
Related: Predicting Roman Josi’s Extension
It was vital for the Predators to get a deal done with Josi as he was scheduled to become a free agent after the 2019-20 season. The 29-year-old is the team’s top defenseman, best player, captain, and has emerged as one of the league’s best blueliners in recent seasons. He’s eclipsed the 50-point mark in four of the past five seasons and has 10-plus goals in six straight seasons. Since the start of the 2014-15 season, his 287 points are fourth-most by an NHL defenseman and he’s finished top-10 in points among blueliners four times in that span. He’s also finished top-10 in Norris Trophy voting in four of the past five seasons, including two fifth-place finishes in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
In 2019-20, he’s continued his great play, posting 13 points in his first 11 games, the best start to a season of his career. With P.K. Subban gone, more is being asked of Josi and he’s embracing those expectations.
While it was initially thought that a Josi extension would have been announced on July 1, the earliest date one could have been signed, that announcement never came. Instead, the negotiations continued into the regular season with recent rumors suggesting that conversations had broken down. As a result, today’s announcement comes as a pleasant surprise for Predators fans as it means avoiding the potential loss of Josi. Now he is all but guaranteed to spend the majority of his career in Nashville, and at a fair price tag after his current deal only carries a $4-million cap hit.
For the Predators, Josi’s extension means that three of their top four defensemen are signed through 2021-22, and the other, Dante Fabbro, will be a restricted free agent and still under team control after next season. In addition to security, Josi’s contract provides the Predators with more clarity regarding their future salary structure. Based on the current $81.5-million salary cap, the Predators will have just over $13 million in space with the need to make decisions on Mikael Granlund, Craig Smith, and numerous bottom-six forwards. But those decisions are for another day, as today the Predators locked up a key player and continue to build their roster in order to be a consistent playoff contender.
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