The Nashville Predators locked up one of their core young players for the long term on Monday, signing defenseman Roman Josi to a new seven-year contract worth a total of $28 million.
Josi, who was due to become a restricted free agent in July, will earn $2.5 million next season, $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 the final year of the deal.
The 23-year-old was recently named the Most Valuable Player and Best Defenseman at the 2013 IIHF World Championships after leading his native Switzerland to a surprise silver medal in the event.
Josi tallied five goals and 11 assists over 52 games as a rookie in 2011-12, then had five goals and 13 assists while playing in all 48 contests this past season. The former second-round pick was elevated to the Predators' top defense pairing alongside captain Shea Weber during his sophomore campaign after 2013 Norris Trophy finalist Ryan Suter signed with the Minnesota Wild as a free agent.
"Re-signing Roman was a top priority as we look to regroup heading into the 2013-14 season," said Predators general manager David Poile. "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."