Preds’ Poile: Johansen will be ‘big, big factor in all of our winning’

Posted: 30/07/2017 in NHL, Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
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David Poile has locked up his No. 1 center for years to come, and he’s feeling good about it.
The Nashville Predators general manager announced the signing of Ryan Johansen to an eight-year, $64-million contract Friday, thereby securing the services of a player for whom he gave up star defenseman Seth Jones in early 2016.

“A year and a half ago, we made a deal with Columbus to pick up Ryan, and I think everyone would agree that was somewhat of … a turning point in our franchise,” Poile said Friday, per the team’s website.

“In (these contract) negotiations, his agent used a line that ‘Ryan’s a driver of our team,’ and I totally concur with that. I really feel in these next eight years, we’re going to do really well, and when we do really well, Ryan Johansen’s going to be a big, big factor in all of our winning.”

The Predators, of course, are the reigning Western Conference champions, and their prospects in the Stanley Cup Final would have been greatly boosted had Johansen not suffered a thigh injury in the third round. Prior to being sidelined, the 24-year-old had recorded a team-high 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 14 playoff games, arguably his best stretch of play with the club.

Nasvhille boasts one of the best defense corps in the NHL, and Johansen’s linemates – Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg – are also signed long term. Altogether, Poile certainly believes this is a group worth betting on.

“We have our whole core signed up, and for a lot of guys, for a lot of years,” Poile said. “I hope we’ve chosen correctly, and I believe we’ve chosen correctly.

“I think our room is a very close room, so I thought it was in my best interests, and in our team’s best interests, if I could get the bulk of our team locked up for a long time so they could play together for a long time. So here we go.”

After the signing, the Predators still have $5,436,667 in projected salary cap space, according to Cap Friendly. Captain Mike Fisher remains unsigned, and is expected to make a decision on his future sometime next week.

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