Philip Forsberg has kept everything close to the news when it comes to his ongoing contract negotiations with the Nashville Predators.
But now that the Predators’ season is over, and the 27-year-old forward is set to hit the open market, Nashville is on Forsberg watch until further notice. But exactly how far apart are the Predators and Forsberg on a new contract?
“I don’t want to give you guys too much information on the negotiations and stuff, but… like I said, there was progress all the way up until the trade deadline and after that the team was set and nothing was going to happen at that point, ”Forsberg said. “We just focused on playing well for the rest of the season and into the playoffs. I’m sure the talks will start progressing again and we’ll see what happens. “
The last public update Predators general manager David Poile gave on his negotiations with Forsberg came back at the end of March after the NHL trade deadline when he told reporters that he and Forsberg’s agent, JP Barry, agreed on everything but the money, and that the two sides weren’t that far off on a deal.
Poile, who’s also been known to disclose as little information as possible, also boldly stated that he believed Forsberg would be part of the Predators for a long time.
But the question now is whether Forsberg feels the same a month and a half later.
“I’ve said since Day 1 that the goal is to come back here,” Forsberg continued. “And the business side is completely different than the on-ice side. I’ll just have to wait and see and play it out. There’s been some progression throughout the season from where we started in September and, obviously, me, my agent, David and Brian [Poile] are going to have ongoing conversations in the process, and we’ll just have to see where we end. “
Following the trade deadline, the Predators closed out the regular season with an 8-6-3 record and were swept for the first time in franchise history by the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
While Nashville certainly surpassed the expectations of most, the Predators are at a point where just making it to the postseason isn’t good enough anymore. And Forsberg, who turns 28 in three months, is at the stage of his career where winning a Stanley Cup becomes a priority no. 1.
The Predators have a solid foundation to build on. The team has the likely Norris Trophy winner, a Vezina Trophy finalist, the rookie goal scoring leader, Matt Duchene fresh off his first 40-goal season, a resurgent Ryan Johansen and nine skaters 25 or younger.
But is that, plus any potential offseason acquisitions, enough to convince Forsberg that the Predators can be a legitimate Cup contender in the near future?
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be on this team for a long time now and we’ve made the playoffs every year,” Forsberg said. “But at the same time, every player plays to win the Stanley Cup. So do I. I think that’s my biggest goal, and I do believe that we have a team that can make that in the future. I think that’s the direction the team has to be heading and I think we are. “
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