Ryan Johansen

Predators sign Ryan Johansen to franchise-record contract

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Predators sign Ryan Johansen to franchise-record contract

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- General manager David Poile has made it clear he's been looking for a top center since first hired to build the Nashville Predators 20 years ago.

He believes he has just that in Ryan Johansen, and that's why the Predators rewarded the 24-year-old center Friday with an eight-year, $64 million contract. It's the biggest deal the franchise has ever handed out.

"I think he is ready to take that next step to become an elite player in the National Hockey League," Poile said. "Your actions say volumes about what you and how you feel, how this is the longest contract that we've ever given out since I've been here. Eight years, the money is significant, but we feel we got the right man to be our No. 1 center for a lot of years."

The Predators now have Johansen under contract at an average of $8 million a year through the 2024-25 season, and linemates Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson are signed for the next five years after Arvidsson signed a seven-year, $29.75 million deal last weekend.

Poile said that was the goal this offseason.

"We got our whole core signed up for a lot of guys for a lot of years, and I hope we've chosen correctly," Poile said for a team that lost the Stanley Cup in six games to Pittsburgh in June. "I believe we've chosen correctly."

Johansen, who turns 25 Monday, tied for the lead in scoring with 61 points (14 goals, 47 assists) over 82 games this season. He had 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 14 playoff games this spring before acute compartment syndrome ended his postseason in the Western Conference final. Johansen said he is fully recovered and working on conditioning with the team's strength coach.

Nashville traded for Johansen in January 2016, swapping defenseman Seth Jones to Columbus for the young center. Johansen says he tried to embrace the challenge of proving in the Predators' run to their first Stanley Cup Final that he is a top center and sees Nashville as the place where he belongs.

"Just the class that they've shown with myself and committing and trusting me and believing in me for these next eight years is just so humbling and so excited for the next chapter, which is coming up fast with the short summer," Johansen said.

This leaves only one big decision remaining for Nashville. Captain Mike Fisher, 37, is expected to decide within the next week whether he wants to return or retire.

NHL Notes: Predators' Ryan Johansen (thigh) out for rest of postseason

NHL Notes: Predators' Ryan Johansen (thigh) out for rest of postseason

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Nashville Predators already face a daunting challenge when they attempt to take control of the Western Conference finals in a pivotal Game 5 on the road.

Without Ryan Johansen, that task is immeasurably tougher.

The star Nashville center will miss the rest of the Stanley Cup playoffs after emergency surgery on a left thigh injury, abruptly leaving the Predators without their leading scorer when they visit the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night.

The Predators announced the injury Friday after the rest of the club traveled to Anaheim. Johansen was hurt at an unspecified point in the Ducks' 3-2 overtime victory Thursday in Game 4, which evened a tense, physical series .

Johansen leads the Predators with 13 points in 14 playoff games while centering their top line with Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson. The smooth center has played a major role in Nashville's transformation into a serious Stanley Cup contender ever since his arrival in a high-profile trade with Columbus in January 2016.

Just two wins away from their first trip to the Stanley Cup Final, the Predators now must figure out how to beat a playoff-tested opponent with no help from their top playmaker -- and perhaps without captain Mike Fisher, another possibly injured center (see full story).

Sharks: Shoulder surgery for Ward
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- San Jose Sharks forward Joel Ward had surgery on his injured right shoulder and is expected to be completely healed for the start of next season.

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said Friday that Ward had dealt with a minor shoulder injury during the season and recently opted for surgery instead of rehab.

Wilson made his announcement a day after Ward appeared at an Oakland Athletics baseball game with a sling on his injured arm.

Ward had a significant drop in production in his second season with the Sharks. He finished with 10 goals and 19 assists a year after recording 21 goals with 22 assists.