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Roman Josi re-signs with Predators for seven years, $28 million

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

Roman Josi played all 48 games this season, recording 18 points. (USATSI)
Roman Josi played all 48 games this season, recording 18 points. (USATSI)

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The Nashville Predators are making sure young defenseman Roman Josi will be sticking around for a long time to come, signing him to a seven-year extension worth $28 million on Monday.

The Predators, who are awesome and release the contract details, broke it out like this: $2.5 million in 2013-14, $3 million in 2014-15, $4 million in 2015-16, $4.25 million in 2016-17, $5 million in 2017-18, $5.25 million in 2018-19 and $4 million in 2019-20. The average cap hit is $4 million per season.

"Re-signing Roman was a top priority as we look to regroup heading into the 2013-14 season," GM David Poile said. "Roman has proven, with his growth and success here in Nashville and on the international stage, that he is one of the best young defensemen in the NHL. Roman's skating ability and instincts have allowed him to play in all key situations. With today's signing, we have our top defensive pairing locked up long-term, and we look forward to Roman's continued development and contribution to the Predators' on-ice success."

The defensive partner that Poile refers to obviously is Shea Weber, who was signed to an offer sheet that the Preds matched last summer. Now they have a guy to keep with Weber for a long time after Ryan Suter elected to depart in free agency.

Josi is just 23, but he had a bit of a breakout campaign this past season. He played all 48 games and had five goals and 13 assists while playing 23:21 per game, 19th most in the league. He was able to answer one of the questions going into the season, which was who would step up to help replace Suter.

Josi's year continued with a tremendous showing at the World Championships for the surprising Swiss. He was named the tournament's MVP as the Swiss took home a silver medal. Surely that international performance only helped him get a better deal with the Preds.

It seems like a touch of a gamble to give a somewhat unproven player -- he has a little more to prove is the better way to put it -- a seven-year deal and a good salary, but they figure he's only going to grow more and this contract will take him until he's 30. If he does become the player they hope, it avoids headaches for years to come. If he doesn't pan out -- he has played just 100 games so far -- it could be a burden. But given the growth he showed, I like the gamble.

However, it does set the bar awfully high for other defensemen in line for new contracts --guys like Karl Alzner, Ryan McDonagh and Slava Voynov, to name a few.

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