The big signing news from Friday was the Nashville Predators coming to terms with their last big restricted free agent, forward Ryan Johansen, giving him a league maximum 8-year deal, worth $64 million, an $8 million cap hit per season.
Johansen has shown some flashes of brilliance, so far in his young career, but has had troubles with consistency, ever since coming over from Columbus to Nashville, he hasn't quite seen the scoring flair that was expected of him yet. In the 2017 regular season, the soon-to-be 25-year old (birthday on Monday) played in all 82 games, but only scored 14 goals and 61 points. That was still good enough for 57th overall in league scoring, but still a little ways off his career highs.
In the playoffs, before his thigh injury, Johansen was a big reason why the Predators were going as far as they did, as he had 3 goals and 13 points in 14 games, but missed out on the better part of the Conference Finals and the entire Cup Finals as well.
The injury shouldn't be lingering, as the thigh problem he had suffered in the playoffs was dealt with surgically, as soon as it was diagnosed and all the reports in the off-season have suggested that he is ahead of schedule for his rehab. I would be fairly confident in saying that he should be ready to go for opening night.
|Ryan Johansen||8.000||P.K. Subban||9.000||Pekka Rinne||7.000|
|Filip Forsberg||6.000||Roman Josi||4.000||Juuse Saros||0.693|
|Craig Smith||4.250||Mattias Ekholm||3.750|
|Viktor Arvidsson||4.250||Alexei Emelin||3.000|
|Nick Bonino||4.100||Ryan Ellis||2.500|
|Calle Jarnkrok||2.000||Matt Irwin||0.650|
|Austin Watson||1.100||Yannick Weber||0.650|
|Scott Hartnell||1.000||Petter Granberg||0.613|
The contract is a whopper of a deal and it makes him the 2nd-highest paid player on the team, only behind P.K. Subban. The Predators are doing well with spending well withing their own budget and without any more free agents left to lock up under their own roof, I am showing that this 23-man projected roster still leaves about $6 million in cap space.
The additions of Nick Bonino and Scott Hartnell up front and Alexei Emelin on the blueline are very interesting additions to a team that lost James Neal to Vegas and still may not get Mike Fisher back, as he weighs out his career options. I don't think there are any guarantees that this team will necessarily be better, but they certainly are not trending in the wrong direction either. I think you'll be able to find a lot of points with the Predators and in good spots too.