When the Nashville Predators cleaned out their lockers at the conclusion of their postseason run in May, then-restricted free agent Filip Forsberg stated there was nowhere else he’d rather play hockey than in Music City.
On Monday, that wish was granted for the foreseeable future.
The 21-year-old winger inked a six-year contract worth $36 million to keep him in Nashville through the 2021-22 season. The team’s leading scorer for the past two seasons – with 63 and 64 points respectively – reiterated his stance on remaining with the Predators and continuing to build on the ultimate goal.
“Why wouldn’t you want to play where you really like it?” Forsberg said via conference call. “Our team has been growing every year, and this year was no exception. We had a good Cup run and we have the pieces to take the next step in the future. I want to be a big part of that.”
Forsberg certainly figures to play a large role in that equation. The Swede became the first Preds player to reach the 30-goal mark since the 2010 season when he potted 33 in 2015-16. He and fellow winger James Neal – who had 31 – became the first two Preds players in a decade to score 30 in the same campaign.
“I don’t want to change anything; I want to play the type of game that I’ve always been playing, and I want to be the kind of guy that I’ve been,” Forsberg said. “Some things might change, but I hope to stay the same and just play the same type of way, become a better player and help the team to become even better.”
With the new deal, Forsberg joins the likes of Craig Smith, Colin Wilson, Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi, Shea Weber and Pekka Rinne who are signed through at least the 2018-19 season. Forsberg believes the consistency Nashville has in the lineup will only help as players continue to grow alongside one another.
“We have a really interesting team; guys are locked up for a while, and it’s going to be really interesting to be a part of this and just try to build on it,” Forsberg said. “We had a really good team last year, and if all the players we still have can just improve and get better, and if we add something in free agency, I think we have a really good chance at winning the Cup in the future. That’s the biggest goal for the franchise, and the biggest goal for myself as well.”
Luckily for Preds fans, they’ll get to see No. 9 make defenders continue to look silly for a while. That’s just fine with him.
“I never really thought about anything else than staying with Nashville,” Forsberg said. “I think we have something really [great] going, and I want to be a part of that. Six years just sounded perfect when it was brought up, and I think it will be really exciting. I’m really looking forward to the future.”