NASHVILLE– It took months of negotiations for Filip Forsberg and the Nashville Predators to reach an agreement.
Now that the 27-year-old forward has signed an eight-year, $68 million contract ($8.5 million average annual value), his next step is to leave a legacy with the only team he has played for in the NHL.
Forsberg could have become an unrestricted free agent Wednesday and is coming off his best NHL season with career highs of 42 goals, 42 assists and 84 points. The native of Ostervala, Sweden has 469 points (220 goals, 249 assists) in 566 NHL games over 10 seasons. He is Nashville’s leader in goals and ranks fourth in points.
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“I talked to him a little bit about legacy, and I think legacy is about what you do on the ice, what you do off the ice,” Predators general manager David Poile said. “I think he has certainly already done a lot of that in both those areas. But with these next eight years, he should certainly be what I call a legacy player with our franchise, similar to what Pekka Rinne did here and off the ice, and we all see now what Roman Josi is doing both on and off the ice.”
Rinne retired July 13, 2021 after 15 NHL seasons, all for the Predators, going 369-213-75 with a 2.43 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and 60 shutouts, and winning the 2018 Vezina Trophy voted as best goalie. Josi has played his entire 11-season NHL career for Nashville. He has 542 points (140 goals, 402 assists), won the 2020 Norris Trophy voted as best defenseman and has been Predators captain since Sept. 19, 2017.
Forsberg was chosen by the Washington Capitals with the No. 11 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft. He was traded to the Predators for forwards Martin Erat and Michael Latta on April 3, 2013.
“I just want to try to bring my heart and soul to the game every day,” Forsberg said. “I think that’s something I’ve gotten better and stronger and improved for the most part every year that I’ve played for this team. And I’m looking to continue that.”
Forsberg said the direction of the Predators was one of the most important factors in re-signing. They made the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the eighth straight season but were swept by the Colorado Avalanche in the best-of-7 Western Conference First Round. Nashville qualified as the second wild card into the playoffs from the West.
Since then, the Predators acquired Ryan McDonagh in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning on July 3. The defenseman has played 12 NHL seasons and won the Stanley Cup twice with the Lightning (2020, 2021)
“I think this team is definitely trending in the right direction, and that was a huge part for me,” Forsberg said. “Bringing Ryan McDonagh on board was a player that clearly has done exactly what we’re trying to do on this team and been a key part of it. That’s something we can definitely build on and it will be very exciting to have him alongside us this year.”
In the weeks leading up to the completion of the deal, Poile said the Predators had various offseason plans based on whether Forsberg re-signed. He said Monday that there was one strategy all along.
“We never had another plan,” Poile said with a laugh. “Our plan A, B, C and D was from the beginning this offseason to sign him … We never varied from wanting him here, and you never varied from wanting to be here. So congrats to you, ‘Fil,’ and I look forward to working with you the next eight years. Let’s see if we can accomplish something really good together.”