In a season such as this one for the Nashville Predators, it feels as if the last thing we should be talking about is giving extensions to players.
Definitely expect the Predators to start shipping off several players at or before the start of the offseason, but GM David Poile may have one other very important decision to make this summer; And it’s regarding Filip Forsberg, who is eligible for a contract extension at the beginning of free agency.
But as I mentioned in an article covering the list of tradable players on the Predators, while I do not expect him to be dealt, this offseason is when Poile might make a decision on whether he stays with the team long-term.
Whether or not you expect Forsberg to remain a Predator, it’s never too early for teams to start thinking about extensions for their critical players. And here, I will predict what that might look like for him.
The precedent for the Nashville Predators
As we have mentioned many times, Forsberg is on pace for maybe his best season in the NHL. He has nine goals and ten assists in 22 games played, and is starting to build chemistry with coveted youngster Eeli Tolvanen.
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Forsberg is and has been the best forward on the Predators since his sensational rookie season, and has remained consistent. If he is to get paid as such, which I expect to happen, the team will be spending a lot of money on him.
The highest-paid forwards on the Predators are Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene, who are both making $8M per year. Johansen got a full eight-year contract at the time of his signing, and Duchene got seven years due to coming in as an unrestricted free agent.
Sure, they are being highly overpaid relative to their performances, but those deals could still be used as leverage for Forsberg’s camp in negotiations.
The valuation for a forward is usually higher than that of a defenseman in the NHL, but knowing that he is by far the best player on the team and one of the league’s recognized elite defensemen, that could make things a little difficult for Forsberg’s camp.
What to compare to
All of them are similar to Forsberg in this regard because they had similar stats at the time of their extensions, were re-signed by their respective teams before they hit the open market, and got their deals no later than the 2018 offseason.
The full terms of their contracts are listed as follows:
- Logan Couture: 8 years $64M ($8M AAV)
- Max Pacioretty: 4 years $28M ($7M AAV)
- Jeff Skinner: 8 years $72M ($9M AAV)
- Tyler Seguin: 8 years $78.8M ($9.85M AAV)
Not all of these players are the exact same type of player as Forsberg, and it is worth noting that the Skinner contract looks to be maybe the biggest signing blunder in the NHL right now. But the bottom line is you can expect his next contract to be somewhere in the ballpark of the four listed ones.
Considering the circumstances, my prediction for Forsberg’s next contract is 8 years $69.6M ($8.7M AAV).
This amount of money makes sense because it pays him more than Johansen and Duchene, but less than Josi, and about what most players in his status receive.
And for good measure, I will predict that Forsberg gets a modified no-trade clause in all eight years of his deal, with a trade list of up to ten teams.
Over the years, one thing Poile has become more flexible with is including movement protection in players’ contracts, and I think that clause would be reasonable since Forsberg is a very good, but not elite player.
Forsberg could cash in even more if he maintains or even exceeds his current pace throughout the rest of the season. But knowing his track record and the team around him, I personally believe that he will start to cool off a bit at some point.
Nonetheless, if the Predators are intent on keeping Forsberg for the long haul, they better be ready to pay up.