This offseason has been a very productive one for the Nashville Predators. The Preds signed UFAs Nick Bonino and Scott Harnell, and resigned a few major RFAs, including Viktor Arvidsson, Pontus Aberg, and Freddie Gaudreau. The last big piece the Preds needed to lock up was resigning first-line center Ryan Johansen. There had been rumors in the past few weeks concerning the terms of Johansen’s contract, but in the past few days, those had died down.
Then, at 3:07pm EST on Friday afternoon, they started up again, when the Preds tweeted the following:
At 4pm EST, David Poile, Predators GM, took the podium to announce that Ryan Johansen had resigned with the Preds for the next eight years. Johansen’s contract is for eight years with an AAV of $8 million, totaling $64 million.
It’s the largest contract in Predators history.
Johansen arrived in Nashville in January 2016 via a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets that sent Joey to Nashville, and defenseman Seth Jones to Columbus. The trade was necessary to bring a true first-line center to Nashville; something that the Preds have never had.
Johansen has been great for the Preds since arriving, appearing in 124 regular-season games, and tallying up 95 points (22 G, 73 A) in that time frame. He’s also played 28 playoff games with the Preds, picking up 21 total points (7 G, 12 A). His 2017 playoff run was cut short this year when he suffered an injury in the WCF against the Ducks. Johansen was later diagnosed with Acute Compartment Syndrome, and was forced to miss the remainder of the playoffs.
Johansen took the podium today, and informed the crowd that it was “...clear on both sides working on this deal, this was the best place…” for him to be. The excitement was echoed by GM David Poile and members of the media in attendance. With Johansen now under contract, Nashville’s top line (Forsberg, Johansen, Arvidsson) is signed through the next five years. When asked about keeping that first line intact for so long, Poile simply said, “...it’s fantastic.” Forsberg is signed for the next five seasons at an AAV of $6 million, and Arvidsson, who also resigned this summer, is around for the next seven seasons for an AAV of $4.25 million.
The Predators have now resigned every major RFA that they needed to, including Arvidsson, Austin Watson, Kevin Fiala, Freddie Gaudreau, Pontus Aberg, and now Ryan Johansen. The core of Nashville’s Stanley Cup Final team remains not only intact for next season, but for many more years to come. The last big question mark on the Predators offseason is whether or not captain Mike Fisher returns to the Preds, or retires.
Until Fisher’s decision, it’s safe to say that Johansen’s new contract will be the biggest news of Nashville’s offseason. After going years without a true first-line center, the Predators finally have their guy. As a Predators fan, I couldn’t be more excited.
Here’s to eight more years of Ryan Johansen, beautiful person.