R5CG0408.JPG

Filip Forsberg

For perhaps the first time since the NHL trade deadline in March, Nashville Predators general manager David Poile sounded less than 100 percent confident that he and free agent forward Filip Forsberg will reach an agreement on a new contract by the start of free agency on July 13.

Poile, who’s on record stating he and Forsberg aren’t too far off on a deal, appears to have walked back that statement while speaking with reporters Thursday at Bridgestone Arena.

“Am I concerned? Absolutely,” Poile admitted, via 102.5-FM’s Robby Stanley. “It would’ve been very good if we could’ve had this done a lot earlier.”

Poile did disclose that Forsberg made it clear he won’t sign with the Predators for anything less than eight years, and a no-movement clause has been discussed as well. Thus, the only obstacle seemingly holding up the negotiations appears to be the stalemate regarding the average annual value of the contract.

Reports indicate Forsberg and his agent J.P. Barry are wanting an AAV around $9 million while Poile is closer to the $8.5 million range.

“We're taking a position where we feel that we're offering the right thing," Poile said. "They're taking a position where they think it should be more than that. … Something has got to give in the next couple of weeks for Filip to sign."

The Predators have said they do have multiple contingency plans should Forsberg leave via free agency. 

Nashville has approximately $26 million in cap space according to CapFriendly, which could be used to either pursue a top free agent forward such as Johnny Gaudreau, Nazem Kadri, Valeri Nichuskin or Andre Burakovsky, or be used to add a top scorer from the trade market such as Boston’s David Pastrnak or Vancouver’s J.T. Miller or Brock Boeser.

“There’s certain things you would do or could do if Filip was signed and there’s certain things you can’t do,” Poile said. “Now we’re in a situation where we’re formulating all sorts of different plans because we have to be ready for either scenario. It’s not where I want to be.”

The Predators have a little under three weeks to hash out an extension with Forsberg before he hits the open market, where he’s sure to have his pick of potential suitors.

Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_