If he was provided the chance to stay in Nashville long term, Colton Sissons knew he would be putting pen to paper.
That opportunity came on Tuesday, and the restricted free agent inked a seven-year, $20 million deal with the Predators to remain in Music City through the 2025-26 season.
It's the largest contract of Sissons's career, and it keeps him locked into a core of players who recognize what Nashville has to offer in all facets of hockey and life. Not only did Sissons want to continue playing for the only NHL club he's ever known, but as is the case with most who live here, he's fallen for Nashville, too.
"I couldn't be happier," Sissons said via phone from his hometown of Vancouver. "It's no secret how much I love it down there living in Nashville. The city is great, the people are awesome and I love putting that Gold jersey on, too. I just couldn't be more excited to stick around and continue what we've been building there for a number of years now."
Not only was Sissons intent on remaining with the Predators for the foreseeable future, but that feeling was reciprocated across the table. Preds General Manager David Poile wanted Sissons to remain in the fold for a myriad of reasons, including the centerman's abilities on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ice.
To start, Sissons is coming off his best statistical season that saw him record career highs of 15 goals and 30 points, including eight multi-point efforts along the way - and the ceiling may be even higher.
"I still feel that I have some untapped potential on that end," Sissons said of his offensive capabilities. "Hopefully, I can keep trending in the right direction and continue with some career highs, keep my all-around play just building in the right direction. I feel like I can still get a lot better."
While there could be even more to give in the scoring department, there's no denying Sissons is an excellent penalty killer and face-off man - winning more than 53 percent of his draws last season. The 2012 second-round pick has become a reliable presence in his own end, and he believes it's what has led to his chances at this level.
"[Strong defensive play] is something I've known for a long time that I would need to become an NHL player," Sissons said. "It's allowed me to have a big role for our team and get on the ice quite a bit in important times of the game. If it's on the penalty kill or a big faceoff at the end, I want to be a guy that's relied upon in that area, and I've been fortunate enough to have that quite a bit in my young career so far."
A key shot block with just seconds left in regulation, or a hat trick to send the Predators to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, those are measurable statistics. What doesn't carry the same tangible attributes, but shouldn't be overlooked, is Sissons's leadership capabilities.
Formerly captain of the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League, Sissons also served as captain of Nashville's AHL affiliate in Milwaukee, the youngest player to ever sport the "C" for the Admirals. Poile says he views Sissons as an "up-and-coming" leader on this Predators club as well, and it likely won't be long before No. 10 joins the team's leadership group.
"It's no secret that I'm not the most outspoken guy in the locker room, or just in general, but I think the way I carry myself around the rink and with the guys, and the work ethic that I put in, those are some qualities that have come to fruition already," Sissons said. "I don't have a letter on my jersey - hopefully one day - but I definitely see myself as a leader for us."
Letter or not, it's clear to see the significant role Sissons has grown into on this Predators team. He, just like everyone else, was frustrated in the first-round exit the group suffered last spring, the first of its kind since the 2015 postseason.
If anything, that fate only adds to the summertime motivation for players like Sissons, and with the group set to take the ice come training camp in September, there's plenty of reason for optimism.
"I still feel like it's an exciting time for us," Sissons said. "It's no secret we were disappointed with the way things worked out in the playoffs this year. We all know that was unacceptable, but you look up and down our lineup, it's a pretty solid roster… I know we're all just pumped to get back to camp again and start to build on another Cup run, because we feel that we do have the group of guys to do it."
Just like so many others, Sissons will be a member of that group for a long time, and there's nowhere else he'd rather be.
"I love Nashville," Sissons said. "I really enjoy my time there, and I just couldn't be happier getting to really settle down and spend some time there, get a house and maybe even start a family one day down there. I just really enjoy the city and the people, so I couldn't be happier."
Video: See the best of Colton Sissons from 2018-19