NASHVILLE – Philip Forsberga pending unrestricted free agent, has been offered an eight-year contract by the Nashville Predators, general manager David Poile said Thursday.
“He’s not signing with us for anything less than eight years,” Poile said.
The Predators are the only team allowed to sign Forsberg to an eight-year contract; any other team is limited to seven.
Forsberg, who has spent his entire 10-season NHL career with the Predators, had career-bests in goals (42), assists (42) and points (84) in 69 games.
The 27-year-old forward is the Predators’ all-time leader with 220 goals, and he’s fourth with 469 points.
Forsberg can become an unrestricted free agent July 13. He was in the final season of a six-year, $ 36 million contract ($ 6 million average annual value) he signed June 27, 2016.
Poile expressed confidence after the Predators lost to the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference First Round that Nashville would be able to sign Forsberg and said things have not changed much since then. He said the two sides are speaking regularly in an effort to bridge the gap.
“We’re still talking, still talking a lot,” Poile said. “We just don’t have it done. We’ve got a deadline coming up here in July. So I wish it was done; I said that two months ago. It’s disappointing. I’m sure [they’re disappointed] because they feel we should be offering something different. We feel that we’re in a good spot. We’ve just got to keep working to get this done. “
Forsberg said at the end of the season that he wanted to remain with the Predators.
“I’ve said that since Day One: The goal is to come back here,” he said May 10. “The business side is completely different than the on-ice side. [We’ll] just kind of have to wait and see and play it out. “
Poile said he hopes Forsberg understands what it takes for Nashville to keep a competitive team around him.
The Predators were the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season, the eighth straight season they’ve qualified. But in addition to Forsberg, forwards Luke Kunin and Yakov Trenin can be restricted free agents, and forward Tanner Jeannotwho led NHL rookies with 24 goals, will be eligible to sign a contract extension July 13.
“Philip, in my conversations, he wants to be here,” Poile said. “It’s really down to a business decision. It’s nothing about him not wanting to be here and to go somewhere else.
“We’re trying to run the franchise correctly and [offer] what we think is the appropriate [contract] number, not only as a player for him, but it also gets into what we need to be able to put a good team together – which is Filip’s team. If we’re offering him an eight-year contract, it’s Filip’s team for the next eight years. He has to hopefully have a little buy-in to understand that. “
Poile left open the possibility that Forsberg could “take a peek at a free agency,” while still returning to Nashville. He compared the situation to that of Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskogwho signed an eight-year contract July 27, 2021, the day before the start of free agency last season.
Though signing Forsberg is the Predators’ first priority, Poile said other plans have to be formulated in case it doesn’t happen.
“We’re taking a position where we feel we’re offering the right thing,” he said. “They’re taking a position where they think it should be more than that. I’m trying to weigh the balances of what I pay to each individual player vs. my total team cap and what other things we need to do to have a good team going forward.
“So they’re not wrong, and with all due respect I’m not wrong. Something’s got to give in the next couple of weeks for Philip to sign.”