It appears that Nashville Predators general manager David Poile is trying to squeeze every drop out of the only bit of leverage has in his contract negotiations with forward Filip Forsberg.
The Predators are the only team that can offer Forsberg an eight-year contract per the league’s collective bargaining agreement, and thus it seems Poile is holding out hope that Forsberg will accept Nashville’s offer, which may have a lower average annual value than what other teams can offer him on the open market but could be worth more overall money due to having an extra year.
If the Predators offered Forsberg an eight-year, $66 million contract ($8.25 AAV), then another team on the open market that can only offer seven years would have to give Forsberg at least $9.43 million per year to equal the same dollar amount of Nashville’s offer.
Reports from the NHL Draft in Montreal indicate a contract worth $8.5 million per year could be enough to get a deal done. The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reported on Monday that the Predators are offering an AAV of $8.25 million while Forsberg and his agent are presumably pushing for $8.75 million.
“Is this thing really going to blow up over about half a million a year?” LeBrun asked. “It feels like both sides have dug in with their latest positions.”
Forsberg has remained steadfast that he wants to return to Nashville. He likely saw enough during the Predators surprise playoff appearance last season to persuade him Nashville is a team on the rise. The recent trade for defenseman Ryan McDonagh was also presumably another good-faith showing of Poile’s commitment to winning now.
But Forsberg also watched close friend Viktor Arvidsson get traded last offseason in Year 4 of the seven-year contract he signed with the Predators in 2017, and the same with Ryan Ellis, who made it just two years into his contract extension before he was sent to Philadelphia.
If Forsberg is willing to commit to the Predators until the 2029-30 season, then it’s understandable that he would want some form of a no-move or no-trade clause to prevent the same thing from happening to him.
A no-movement clause would ensure that Forsberg can’t be traded, waived or sent to the AHL. A no-trade would ensure that Forsberg couldn’t be traded to any team unless he approved it.
"We don't love doing that,” Poile told reporters at the draft of his unwillingness to hand out no-movement clauses. “But Forsberg has made that as part of the negotiations and that will be part of his contract.”
The Predators and Forsberg have until midnight on July 12 to reach an agreement or the 27-year-old forward will become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.
Poile has remained adamant that should the Predators and Forsberg part ways, he has multiple backup plans in place, plus roughly $18.1 million in cap space, to add more scoring pop to Nashville’s top six.
“We're not going to be shut out," Poile said. "We're going to have Filip or we're going to do our best to be busy on the 13th. If it's not done by the 12th then he's free to go wherever he wants, so on the 13th that's our opportunity, but the first priority, still our priority, our No. 1 is to try to get him signed."
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