It was another disappointing outing for Philippe Forsberg and the Nashville Predators, losing in the first round for the fourth straight season. The 27-year-old now faces a career-defining decision as his offseason begins and free agency approaches. Forsberg will be an unrestricted free agent in July after spending his entire NHL career so far in a Predators jersey, and didn’t back down much when speaking to reporters about the situation yesterday:
I said that since day one, the goal is to come back here. And the commercial side is completely different from the on-ice side, as you know, and you just have to wait and see and play. There has obviously been some progression throughout the season from where we started in September, and me and my agent and David and Brian and management. There’s going to be an ongoing conversation in the process, and we’ll just have to see where we end up.
You couldn’t script a better regular season to negotiate, as Forsberg set career highs with 42 goals and 84 points, all in just 69 games. With so much of his output at even strength (32 goals), there’s probably no limit to the number of teams that could slot him into a lineup and receive a huge attacking boost. With the Predators out, the countdown is on until Forsberg and his reps have a chance to speak with the rest of the league.
After a decade in Nashville, Forsberg has always maintained that his desire was to stay with the organization that traded him all those years ago, but there have been at least some signs of the possibility of him leaving. Namely, the organization quickly developed multi-year extensions with Mattias Ekholm, Mikael Granlundand Juuse Saros last summer offers that eat up quite a bit of ceiling space in the future. With Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansenand Romain Josi also on the books for a combined $25 million per season, it’s not like there’s a ton of room for another huge contract.
Still, it’s hard to imagine the Predators’ offensive attack without Forsberg in the middle. He became the franchise leader in goals this season, passing David Legwand in 400 fewer games, and he’s ranked 14th in the entire league since his rookie season. This story – particularly bolstered by his outstanding 2021-22 campaign – will see Forsberg demanding a substantial raise from the $6 million he has earned in each of the past six years, and a long-term deal for the 2021-22 campaign. ‘to accompany.
Another thing to remember, and something that could potentially affect negotiations, is general manager David Poile’s aversion to giving out no-trade clauses. The only player on Nashville’s roster who holds one is captain Roman Josi, and Forsberg has seen the lack of trade protection play out in recent years with the departures of Viktor Arvidson and Ryan Ellis. There’s almost no doubt he could get a full no-move clause elsewhere if he decides to test the market later this summer.
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