There was never really a doubt.
Sure, contract negotiations that involve more than $72 million dollars take more than a few days to hammer out, and this instance was no different. But ultimately, Roman Josi wanted to be in Nashville, and the Predators wanted Roman Josi in Nashville.
When two sides share the same desire to keep a player with the team he loves in the place that has become home, it's only a matter of time.
On Tuesday morning, when Predators General Manager David Poile officially announced an eight-year, $72.472 million contract for his Captain - a deal that intentionally comes with an average-annual value of $9.059 million for the man who wears No. 59 on his jersey - there was plenty to celebrate.
"This is a really special day for me, my wife, my family and it's definitely a dream come true," Josi said Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena. "I've been with this organization for my whole career, and Nashville has become a home for me. I met my wife here, I got married here, my family loves it here, I've met so many new people in Nashville and I love everything about this city. We have the best fans in the League, this city is home for me and I love everything about it."
Negotiations with Josi's representatives had been ongoing for months, but Poile pointed to a meeting he had with Josi during a recent road trip that may have been a turning point. The general manager, along with Nashville's Assistant General Manager and Director of Hockey Operations, Brian Poile, sat down with Josi while the team was in Arizona in the middle of October to discuss a few points.
Poile stated the contract itself was brought up, but more than that, the managers shared their vision for the future of the Preds and what that would look like with Josi in it long term. They were thoughts that wouldn't necessarily be revealed to just any player, but this was a special circumstance.
"It's probably the most important negotiation we've ever had," Poile said. "You're signing Roman Josi, our best player, and he's our leader… I felt after Roman heard us out [in that meeting in Arizona], he made a few comments, and I felt we were heading in the right direction."
"It's just good to sit together and talk about it, because normally during the negotiation it's mostly your agent talking to David or Brian, and you're not really involved," Josi said. "It was good for both sides just to see both sides' [views on everything], and we had a really good chat. We talked for a long time, so I think it just gave both sides a little bit more clarity."
Poile's hunch was right, and with that meeting still in mind, he picked up the phone on Monday afternoon to get in touch with Josi's reps once more and made his intentions clear.
Video: Josi, Laviolette and Poile talk about Josi's new deal
"When I called the agent yesterday, I basically said, 'I'm calling to make a deal,'" Poile said. "I said, 'I just want you to know I'm not picking my spots, because your man here was the star of the game in Tampa Bay with a goal and two assists. Your man is going to be named Second Star of the [Week in the] NHL in about an hour here, so… you have all the cards, so to speak.' I think there was a little bit of a laugh at that point, and we just talked about a few things and I think we got it done right away after that."
More than anything, Poile says he's happy to have the deal done, and he's looking forward to the next eight years with Josi on his roster as the Predators continue to work toward their ultimate goal. Having Josi in tow certainly helps those chances, and the blueliner himself appreciated being privy to those blueprints.
"David and Brian explained to me what their plan is, and like I said before, David and Brian and everybody else has done an awesome job every year of putting together a team that competes for a Stanley Cup," Josi said. "As a player, that's obviously the ultimate goal, and there's really never any doubt in my mind that they're going to do that for the next number of years."
Why give Josi the maximum length possible on a deal that makes him one of the NHL's highest paid defenseman? Well, the on-ice statistics for the two-time All-Star don't lie.
Just as importantly, he's the man who wears the "C" for the Preds, the player counted on to lead the team through the highs and lows, the crushing defeats and euphoric victories that are inevitable over the course of a long season.
As far as Head Coach Peter Laviolette is concerned, there's no one he'd rather have charged with that task.
"It's not just what we see on the ice on a nightly basis, it's what he brings to the room," Laviolette said of Josi. "I count on his leadership all the time, and he knows that too. He's got a very powerful, strong voice inside the room, and we signed a terrific person and a terrific human being. When you're looking to make a commitment to somebody for eight years, you want to check a lot of boxes and we feel like we checked all the boxes."
Josi had no intentions of exploring free agency this summer. He made it clear from the start he wanted to stay in Nashville - to play hockey and to live his life in a city he's fallen in love with, just like the rest of his teammates.
And for a man whose dashing good looks are almost impressive as his effortless skating stride, leading the only NHL franchise he's even known for at least eight more seasons is exactly what he had planned.
"I came here when I was 20 years old from Switzerland, didn't know much about Nashville, and it was mind blowing how nice people are in Nashville," Josi said. "Everybody is friendly, everybody is so welcoming, and this place has felt like home for me. I met my wife here, got married here and it's an awesome place. It's an awesome city with awesome people, and I get to play in the best organization in the League."