July 3, 2019 | 8:42AM ET
BY DAVID PAGNOTTA, The Fourth Period
JOSI SET TO CASH IN ON NEXT CONTRACT
TORONTO, ON – When the Nashville Predators traded P.K. Subban to the New Jersey Devils on Day 2 of the NHL Draft, the initial reaction was the freed-up salary cap space would be allocated for centre Matt Duchene.
Certainly, freeing up $9 million in cap space helped Nashville in its pursuit of Duchene, who inked a seven-year, $56 million deal with the club on Monday, but there was more to the move than meets the eye.
Next summer, the Predators have a few significant pending unrestricted free agents to worry about and none are bigger than captain Roman Josi.
The 29-year-old star defenceman is in the final-year of a seven-year, $28 million contract and can hit the open market next summer if he goes unsigned – and he’s going to command big dollars.
But the Predators don’t want to get to that point.
According to a well-placed source close to the organization, the Predators are planning on presenting Josi and his agent with an offer in the not-too-distant future. The two sides have had very preliminary talks to this point, and the expectation is an offer will come across Josi’s desk later this month.
Both sides will tell you there’s no sense of urgency in getting a deal done, but rest assured agreeing to a long-term extension this summer is a priority, especially for the Predators.
It’s unclear as to the type of offer the Predators will pitch, outside of it being an eight-year max term. Josi will easily double his salary on the open market and the Predators know it’s going to cost a pretty penny to get his signature on a new deal.
Does a $9 million Average Annual Value (AAV) get the deal done? What about $9.5 million? Perhaps we’re looking north of $10 million? Maybe $11 million?
It’s going to take a big number to get Josi locked up, but the Predators have the ability to offer him an extra year and have the luxury of reminding him there’s no state income tax in Tennessee, and those elements will factor into negotiations as they look to lower the AAV.
Josi loves playing in Nashville and I’ve gotten the sense his mindset is locked into staying well beyond the 2019-20 season, which is why he’ll likely receive a full no-movement clause as part of his next contract – he currently does not own any no-trade protection. But at the end of the day, his next deal must make dollars-and-cents, I mean, sense.
The Predators did a good job in creating long-term, and immediate, cap space by moving Subban, but they’ll likely look to shed more salary.
Predators centre Kyle Turris has been the subject of much trade speculation this off-season and he’s a prime candidate to be moved.
Turris, 29, is now in the second-year of a six-year, $36 million contract and his $6 million cap hit is a tough pill to swallow for many teams after the poor offensive performance he displayed this past season – he registered just seven goals and 16 assists for 23 points in 55 games.
Whether the team moves Turris or decides not to re-sign one of Mikael Granlund or Craig Smith next summer in order to accommodate Josi’s next deal under the cap, things became much more palatable when Predators GM David Poile moved Subban to the Devils.
So, for now, we wait.
The priority is understood. Will Nashville’s offer move the needle or miss the mark? We’ll find out soon enough.