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Predators want to sign Johansen to extension soon

Nashville would like to have top-line center secured by early next season

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators would like to sign center Ryan Johansen to a contract extension by early next season, general manager David Poile said Tuesday.

Johansen, 23, has one season remaining on a three-year contract he signed while playing for the Columbus Blue Jackets, with an average annual value of $4 million, according to generalfanager.com. He can become a restricted free agent following the 2016-17 season, and is eligible to sign an extension starting Friday.

"I've talked to his agent almost every week since the end of the season," Poile said. "[Johansen] was at the draft in Buffalo. He's been really working out. David Good, our strength coach, has already been up to his home in Vancouver and visited with him for three or four days. To answer your question, maybe after the start of the season or something like that."

The Predators acquired Johansen from the Blue Jackets in a trade for defenseman Seth Jones on Jan. 7. Poile said the trade gave the Predators a true No. 1 center for the first time.

Johansen finished with 34 points (eight goals, 26 assists) in 42 regular-season games with the Predators, and four goals and four assists in 14 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He spent the majority of his time on the top line between Calle Jarnkrok and James Neal.

The Predators signed forward Filip Forsberg, their leading scorer the past two seasons, to a six-year, $36 million contract Monday. Forsberg could have become a restricted free agent Friday.

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